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To the Present Edition. 

- ♦ » 

Perhaps the Annals of History do not 
furnish a period, more appropriate for the 
dissemination of the political opinions of 
the Immortal Locke, than the present; when 
Sovereigns and Governmemts, are eagerly 
waiting, and readily embracing every opportu- 
nity to increase their Power ; and when many 
of the Governed are equally impatient under 
the wholesome, as well as the more oppressive 
Laws of those that govern ; to lay before both 
parties, the real origin of the power of the One, 
and for what purpose it was granted ; and the 
just obedience due by the Other ; when those 
purposes tend to the preservation, and good of 
society in general. 

London, January, 1821- 










HEADER, thou hast here the beginning and 
end of a discourse concerning government; 
what fate has otherwise disposed of the papers 
that should have fdled up the middle, and 
were more than all the rest, it is not worth 
while to tell thee. These, which remain, I 
hope are sufficient to establish the throne of 
our great restorer, or present King William ; 
to make good his title, in the consent of the 
people, which being the only one of all lawful 
governments, he has more fully and clearly, 
than any prince in Christendom ; and to 
justify to the world the people of England, 
whose love of their just and natural rights, 
with their resolution to preserve them, saved 
the nation when it was on the very brink of 
slavery and ruin. If these papers have that 
evidence, I flatter myself is to be found in 
them, there will be no great miss of those 
which are lost, and my reader may be satisfied 
without them : for 1 imagine, I shall have 


neither the time, nor inclination to repeat my 
pains, and till np the wanting part of my 
answer, by tracing Sir Robert again, through 
all the windings and obscurities, which are to 
be met with in the several branches of his 
wonderful system. The king, and body of the 
nation, have since so thoroughly confuted his 
Hypothesis, that I suppose no body hereafter 
will have either the confidence to appear 
against our common safety, and be again an 
advocate for slavery; or the weakness to be 
deceived with contradictions dressed up in a 
popular stile, and well-turned periods : for if 
any one will be at the pains, himself, in those 
parts, which are here untouched, to strip Sir 
Robert's discourses of the flourish of doubtful 
expressions, and endeavour to reduce his words 
to direct, positive, intelligible propositions, and 
then compare them one with another, he will 
quickly be satisfied, there was never so much 
glib nonsense put together in well-sounding 
English. If he think it not worth while to 
examine his works all through, let him make 
an experiment in that part, where lie treats of 
usurpation ; and lot him try, whether he can, 
with all his skill, make Sir Robert intelligible, 
and consistent with himself, or common sense. 
J should not speak so plainly of a gentlemen. 


long since past answering, had not the pulpit, 
of late years, publicly owned his doctrine, and 
made it the current divinity of the times. It is 
necessary those men, who taking on them to 
be teachers, have so dangerously misled others, 
should be openly shewed of what authority this 
their Patriarch is, whom they have so blindly 
followed, so that they may either retract what 
upon so ill grounds they have vented, and 
cannot be maintained ; or else justify those 
principles which they preached up for gospel ; 
though they had no better an author than 
an English courtier: for [ should not have 
writ against Sir Robert, or taken the pains to 
shew his mistakes, inconsistencies, and want 
of (what he so much boasts of, and pretends 
wholly to build on) scripture- proofs, were there 
not men amongst us, who, by crying up his 
books, and espousing his doctrine, save me 
from the reproach of writing against a dead 
adversary. They have been so zealous in this 
point, that, if I have done him any wrong, 1 can- 
not hope they should spare me. I wish, where 
they had done the truth and the public wrong, 
they would be as ready to redress it, and allow 
its just weight to this reflection, viz. that there 
cannot be done a greater mischief to prince and 
people, than the propagating wrong notions 


concerning government: that so at last all 
times might not have reason to complain of 
the drum ecclesiastic. If any one, concerned 
really for truth, undertake the confutation of 
my hypothesis, I promise him either to recant 
mistake, upon fair conviction ; or to answer 
his difficulties. But he must remember two 

First, That cavilling here and there, at some 
expression, or little incident of my discourse, 
is not an answer to my book. 

Secondly, That I shall not take railing for 
arguments, nor think either of these worth my 
notice: Though 1 shall always look on my- 
self as bound to give satisfaction to any one 
who shall appear to be conscientiously scru- 
pulous in the point, and shall shew any just 
grounds for his scruples. 

I have nothing more, but to advertise the 
reader, that Observations stands for Observa- 
tions on Hobbes, Milton, &c. and that a bare 
quotation of pages always mean Pages of his 
Patriarcha. Edit. 1680. 




Chapter. Page. 

I. The Introduction • 1 

II. Of Paternal and Regal Power 5 

III. Of Adam's Title to Sovereignty 

by Creation . • 15 

IV. Of Adam's Title to Sovereignty 

by Donation, Gen. i. 28. 23 

V. Of Adam's Title to Sovereignty 

by the Subjection of Eve 48 

VI. Of Adam's Title to Sovereignty 

by Fatherhood . 55 

VII. Of Fatherhood and Property, con- 
sidered together as Fountains of 
Sovereignty . 83 

VIII. Of the Conveyance of Adam's So- 
vereign Monarchical Power 90 

IX. Of Monarchy, by Inheritance from 

Adam . . 94 

X. Of the Heir to Adam's Monar- 
chical Power . . H6 

XI. Who Heir? . U9 







The Introduction 



Of the State of Nature 



Of the State of War 



Of Slavery 



Of Property 



Of Paternal Power 



Of Political or Civil Society 



Of the Beginning of Political 

Societies . . 20.0 

IX. Of the Ends of Political Society 

and Government . 294 

X. Of the forms of a Commonwealth 300 
XI. Of the Extent of the Legislative 

Power . . 301 

XII. Of the Legislative, Executive, 
and Federative Power of the 
Commonwealth . 313 

XIII. Of the Subordination of the 

Powers of the Commonwealth 310 

XIV. Of Prerogative . 327 
XV. Of Paternal, Political and Despo- 

tical Power, considered together 330 
XVI. Of Conquest . 340 

XVII. Of Usurpation . 358 

XVIII. Of Tyranny 360 

XIX. Of the Dissolution of Govern- 
ment . . . 370 




§. 1. Slavery is so vile and miserable an 
estate of man, and so directly opposite to the 
generous temper and courage of our nation ; 
that it is hardly to be conceived, that an Eng- 
lishman, much less a gentleman, should plead 
for it. And truly I should have taken Sir 
Robert Filmers Patriarcha, as any other trea- 
tise, which would persuade all men, that they 
are slaves, and ought to be so, for such another 
exercise of wit, as was his who writ the en- 
comium of Nero; rather than for a serious 
discourse meant in earnest, had not the gravity 
of the title and epistle, the picture in the front 
of the book, and the applause that followed it, 
required me to believe, that the author and 
publisher were both in earnest. I therefore 
took it into my hands with all the expectation, 
and read it through with all the attention due 
to a treatise that made such a noise at its 
coming abroad, and cannot but confess myself 
mightily surprised that in a book, which v, is 


to provide chains for all mankind, I should find 
nothing but a rope of sand, useful perhaps 
to such, whose skill and business it is to raise 
a dust, and would blind the people, the better 
to mislead them ; but in truth not of any force 
to draw those into bondage who have their eyes 
open, and so much sense about them as to 
consider, that chains are but an ill wearing, 
how much care soever hath been taken to file 
and polish them. 

§. 2. If any one think I take too much liberty 
in speaking so freely of a man, who is the great 
champion of absolute power, and the idol of 
those who worship it ; I beseech him to make 
this small allowance for once, to one, who, even 
after the reading of Sir Robert's book, cannot 
but think himself, as the laws allow r him, a 
freeman : and I know no fault it is to do so, 
unless any one better skilled in the fate of it, 
than I, should have it revealed to him, that this 
treatise, which has lain dormant so long, was, 
when it appeared in the world, to carry, by 
strength of its arguments, all liberty out of it ; 
and that thenceforth our author's short model 
was to be the pattern in the mount, and the 
perfect standard of politics for the future. His 
system lies in a little compass, it is no more 
but this, 

That all government is absolute monarchy. 
And the ground he builds on, is this, 

That no man is born free. 

%. 3. In this last age a generation of men has 


sprung up amongst us, that would flatter 
princes with an opinion, that they have a 
divine right to absolute power, let the laws 
by which they are constituted, and are to 
govern, and the conditions under which they 
enter upon their authority, be what they will, 
and their engagements to observe them never so 
well ratified by solemn oaths and promises. To 
make way for this doctrine, they have denied 
mankind a right to natural freedom ; whereby 
they have not only, as much as in them lies, 
exposed all subjects to the utmost misery of 
tyranny and oppression, but have also unset- 
tled the titles, and shaken the thrones of 
princes : (for they too by these men's system, 
except only one, are all born slaves, and by 
divine right are subjects to Adams right heir;) 
as if they had designed to make war upon all 
government, and subvert the very foundation 
of human society, to serve their present turn. 

§. 4. However we must believe them upon 
their own bare words, when they tell us, we 
are all born slaves, and we must continue so, 
there is no remedy for it ; life and thraldom 
we entered into together, and can never be 
quit of the one, till we part with the other. 
Scripture or reason I am sure do not any where 
say so, notwithstanding the noise of divine 
right, as if divine authority hath subjected us 
to the unlimited will of another. An admi- 
rable state of mankind, and that which they 
have not had wit enough to find out till this 

b 2 


latter age. For, however Sir Robert Filmet 
seems to condemn the novelty of the contrary 
opinion, Pair. p. 3. yet 1 believe it will be hard 
for him to find any other age, or country of 
the world, but this, which has asserted mo- 
narchy to be jure divino. And he confesses, 
Patr. p. 4. That Heyivard, Blackwood, Bar- 
clay, and others, that have bravely vindicated the 
right of Icings in most points, never thought 
of this, but with one consent admitted the natural 
liberty and equality of mankind. 

§. 5. By whom this doctrine came at first 
to be broached, and brought in fashion amongst 
us, and what sad effects it gave rise to, I leave 
to historians to relate, or to the memory of 
those, who were contemporaries with Sibthorp 
and Mantuering, to recollect. My business at 
present is only to consider what Sir Robert 
Filmer, who is allowed to have carried this 
argument farthest, and is supposed to have 
brought it to perfection, has said in it ; for him 
every one, who . would be as fashionable as 
French was at court, has learned, and runs 
away with this short system of politics, viz. 
Men are not born free, and therefore could 
never have the liberty to choose either governors, 
or forms of government . Princes have their 
power absolute, and by divine right ; for slaves 
could never have a right to compact or consent. 
Adam was an absolute monarch, and so arc all 
princes ever since. 



Of Paternal and Regal Power. 

§. (>. Sir Robert Filmers great position is, 
that men are not naturally free. This is the; 
foundation on which his absolute monarchy 
stands, and from which it erects itself to such 
an height, that its power is above every power, 
caput inter nubila, so high above all earthly and 
human things, that thought can scarce reach it; 
that promises and oaths, which tie the infinite 
Deity, cannot confine it. But if this foundation 
fails, all his fabric falls with it, and governments 
must be left again to the old way of being 
made by contrivance, and (he consent of men 
('A»'fyw7nV>/ Kriair) making use of their reason to 
unite together into society. To prove this grand 
position of his, he tells us, p. 12. Men are 
horn in subjection to their parents, and therefore 
eannot be free. And this authority of parents 
he calls royal authority, p. 12, 14. Fatherly 
authority, right of fatherhood, p. 12, 20. One 
Mould have thought he would, in the beginning of 
such a work as this, on which was to depend 
the authority of princes, and the obedience of 
subjects, have told us expressly, what that 
fatherly authority is, have defined it, though 
not limited it, because in some other treatises 
of his he tells us, it is unlimited and unlimit- 


able* ; he should at least have given us such 
an account of it, that we might have had an 
entire notion of this fatherhood, or fatherly au- 
thority, whenever it came in our way in his 
writings : this I expected to have found in the 
first chapter of his Patriarcha. But instead 
thereof, having, 1. en passant, made his obey- 
sance to the arcana imperii, p. 5. 2. made his 
compliment to the rights and liberties of this or 
any other nation, p. 6. which he is going pre- 
sently to null and destroy ; and, 3. made his 
leg to those learned men, who did not see so 
far into the matter as himself, p. 7. he comes 
to fall on Bellarmine, p. 8. and, by a victory 
over him, establishes his fatherly authority 
beyond any question. Bellarmine being routed 
by his own confession, p. 11. the day is clear 
got, and there is no more need of any forces : 
for having done that, I observe not that he 
states the question, or rallies up any arguments 
to make good his opinion, but rather tells us 
the story, as he thinks fit, of this strange kind 
of domineering phantom, called the father- 
hood, which whoever could catch, presently 
got empire, and unlimited absolute power. He 
assures us how this fatherhood began in Adam f 

* In grants and gifts that have their original from God or 
nature, as the power of the father hath, no inferior power of 
man can limit, nor make any law of prescription against 
them. Observations, 158. 

The scripture teaches, that supreme power was originally 
in the father, without any limitation. Observations, 245. 


continued its course, and kept the world in 
order all the time of the patriarchs till the flood, 
got out of the ark with Noah and his sons, 
made and supported all the kings of the earth 
till the captivity of the Israelites in Egypt, and 
then the poor fatherhood was under hatches, 
till God, by giving the Israelites kings, re-esta- 
blished the ancient and prime right of the lineal 
succession in paternal government. This is his 
business from p. 12, to p. 19. And then obvia- 
ting an objection, and clearing a difficulty or 
two, with one half reason, p. 23. to confirm 
the natural right of regal power, he ends the 
first chapter. I hope it is no injury to call an 
half quotation an half reason ; for God says, 
Honour thy father and mother ; but our author 
contents himself with half, leaves out thy mo- 
ther quite, as little serviceable to his purpose. 
But of that more in another place. 

§. 7. I do not think our author so little skilled 
in the way of writing discourses of this nature, 
nor so careless of the point in hand, that he by 
oversight commits the fault, that he himself, in 
his Anarchy of a mixed Monarchy, p. 239. ob- 
jects to Mr. Hunton in these words : Where 
first I charge the author, that he hath not given 
us any definition, or description of Monarchy in 
general; for by the rules of method he should 
have first defined. And by the like rule of me- 
thod Sir Robert should have told us, what his 
fatherhood or fatherly authority is, before he 
had told us, in whom it was to be found, and 


talked so much of it. But perhaps Sir Robert 
found, that this fatherly authority, this power 
of fathers, and of kings, for he makes them 
both the same, p. 24. would make a very odd 
and frightful figure, and very disagreeing with 
what either children imagine of their parents, 
or subjects of their kings, if he should have 
given us the whole draught together in that 
gigantic form, he had painted it in his own 
fancy; and therefore, like a wary physician, 
when he would have his patient swallow some 
harsh or corrosive liquor, he mingles it with a 
large quantity of that which may dilute it; that 
the scattered parts may go down with less 
feeling, and cause less aversion. 

§. 8. Let us then endeavour to find what 
account he gives us of this fatherly authority, 
as it lies scattered in the several parts of his 
writings. And first, as it was vested in Adam, 
he says, Not only Adam, but the succeeding 
patriarchs, had, by right of fatherhood, royal 
authority orcr their children, p. 1*2. This lord- 
ship which Adam by command had orcr the 
whole uorld, and by right descending from him 
the patriarchs did enjoy, was as large and ample 
as the absolute dominion of any monarch, which 
hath been since the creation, p. 13. Dominion 
of life and death, making war, and concluding 
peace, p. 13. Adam and the patriarchs had 
absolute power of life and death, p. 35. Kings, 
in the right of parents, succeed to the exercise 
of supreme jurisdiction, p. 19. As kingly power 


is by the law of God, so it hulk no inferior fate 
to limit it ; Adam was lord of all, p. 40. The 
father of a family governs by no other lair, than 
by his own will, p. 78. The superiority of 
princes is above laws, p. 79. The unlimited 
jurisdiction of kings is so amply described by 
Samuel, p. 80. Kings are above the laws, p. 03. 
And to this purpose see a great deal more 
which our author delivers in JBodins words : 
It is certain, that all laws, privileges, and grants 
of princes, have no force, but during their life; 
if they be not ratified by the express consent, or 
by sufferance of the prince following, especially 
privileges, Observations, p. 279. The reason, 
why laws have been also made by kings,was this ; 
when kings were either busied with tears, or dis- 
tracted with public cares, so that every private 
man could not have access to their pjersons, to 
learn their wills and pleasure, then were laws of 
necessity invented, that so every particular sub- 
ject might find his prince s pleasure dccyphcrcd 
unto him in the tables of his lairs, p. 02. In a 
monarchy, the king must by necessity be above 
the laws, p. 100. A perfect kingdom is that, 
wherein the king rules all things according to 
his own will, p. 100. Neither common nor 
statute laics are, or can be, any diminution of 
that general power, which kings have over their 
people by right of fatherhood, p. 115. Adam 
was the father, king, and lord over his family ; 
a son, a subject, and a servant or slave, were one 
and the same thing at first. The father had 


power io dispose or sell his children or servants ; 
whence ive find, that the first reckoning up of 
goods in scripture, the man-servant and the maid- 
servant, are numbered among the possessio?is and 
substance of the owner, as other goods were, 
Observations Pref. God also hath given to the 
father a right or liberty, to alien his power over 
his children to any other ; whence we find the 
sale and gift of children to have been much in 
use in the beginning of the ivorld, when men had 
their servants for a possession and an inheritance, 
as well as other goods ; whereupon we find the 
power of castrating and making eunuchs much 
in use in old times, Observations, p. 155. Lata 
is nothing else but the will of him that hath the 
power of the supreme father, Observations, p. 
223. It teas God's ordinance that the supre- 
macy should be unlimited in Adam, and as large 
as all the acts of his will; and as in him so in 
all others that have supreme power, Observa- 
tions, p. 245. 

§. 9. I have been fain to trouble my reader 
with these several quotations in our author's 
own words, that in them might be seen his own 
description of his fatherly authority, as it lies 
scattered up and down in his writings, which 
he supposes was first vested in Adam, and by 
right belongs to all princes ever since. This 
fatherly authority then, or right of fatherhood, 
in our author's sense, is a divine unalterable 
right of sovereignty, whereby a father or a 
prince halh an absolute, arbitrary, unlimited. 


and unlhnitable power over the lives, liberties, 
and estates of his children and subjects ; so 
that he may take or alienate their estates, sell, 
castrate, or use their persons as he pleases, they 
being all his slaves, and he lord or proprietor 
of every thing, and his unbounded will their law. 
§. 10. Our author having placed such a 
mighty power in Adam, and upon that sup- 
position founded all government, and all power 
of princes, it is reasonable to expect, that he 
should have proved this with arguments clear 
and evident, suitable to the weightiness of the 
cause ; that since men had nothing else left 
them, they might in slavery have such undeni- 
able proofs of its necessity, that their con- 
sciences might be convinced, and oblige them 
to submit peaceably to that absolute dominion, 
which their governors had a right to exercise 
over them. Without this, what good could 
our author do, or pretend to do, by erecting 
such an unlimited power, but flatter the natural 
vanity and ambition of men, too apt of itself to 
grow and encrease with the possession of any 
power? and by persuading those, who, by the 
consent of their fellow-men, are advanced to 
great, but limited degrees of it, that by that 
part which is given them, they have a right to 
all, that was not so ; and therefore may do 
what they please, because they have authority 
to do more than others, and so tempt them 
to do what is neither for their own, nor the 


good of those under their care; whereby great 
mischiefs cannot but follow. 

§. 11. The sovereignty of Adam, being that 
on which, as a sure basis, our author builds 
his mighty absolute monarchy, I expected, that 
in his Patriarcha, this his main supposition 
would have been proved, and established with 
all that evidence of arguments, that such a 
fundamental tenet required ; and that this, on 
which the great stress of the business depends, 
would have been made out with reasons sufti- 
cient to justify the confidence with which it 
was assumed. But in all that treatise, I could 
find very little tending that way ; the thing i> 
there so taken for granted, without proof, that 
I could scarce believe myself, when, upon at- 
tentive reading thai treatise, I found there so 
mighty a structure raised upon the bare sup- 
position of this foundation : for it is scarce 
credible, that in a discourse, where he pretends 
to confute the erroneous principle of man's 
natural freedom, he should do it by ;i bare 
supposition of Adam's authority, without offer- 
ing any proof for that authority. Indeed he 
confidently saj s, that Adam had royal authority, 
p. 12, and 13. absolute lordship and dominion 
°f Hfo fill d death, p. 13. an universal monarchy, 
p. 33. absolute power of life and death, p. 35. 
He is very frequent in such assertions ; but, 
what is strange, in all his whole Patriarcha 1 
find not one pretence of a reason to establish 


this his great foundation of government; noi 
an) thing that looks like an argument, but 

these words : To con/um this natural right of 
regal power, tee find in the Decalogue, that the 
law which enjoins obedience to kings, is delivered 
in the terms, Honour thy father, as if all power 
were originally in the father. And why nia\ 
I not add as well, that in the Decalogue, the 
law that enjoins obedience to queens, is de- 
livered in the terms of Honour thy mother, as 
if all power were originally in the mother 1 
The argument, as Sir Robert puts it, will hold 
as well for one as the other: but of this, more 
in its due place. 

§. 12. All that I take notice of here, is, that 
this is all our author says in his first, or any oi 
the following chapters, to prove the absolute 
power of Adam, which is his great principle: 
and yet, as if he had there settled it upon sure 
demonstration, he begins his second chapter 
with these words, 13y conferring these proofs 
and reasons, drawn from the autho) ity of the 
scripture. Where those proofs and reasons for 
Adam's sovereignty are, bating that of Honour 
thy father, above mentioned, I confess, I 
cannot find; unless what he says, p. 11. In 
these words we have an evident confession, viz. of 
Bellarmine, that creation made man prince of 
his posterity, must be taken for proofs and 
reasons drawn from scripture, or for any sort 
of proof at all: though from thence by a new 
way < f inference, in the words immedia" ,_ 


following, he concludes, the royal authority of 
Adam sufficiently settled in him. 

§. 13. If he has in that chapter, or anywhere 
in the whole treatise, given any other proofs of 
Adams royal authority, other than by often 
repeating it, which among some men, goes for 
argument, I desire any body for him to shew 
me the place and page, that I may be convinced 
of my mistake, and acknowledge my oversight. 
If no such arguments are to be found, I beseech 
those men, who have so much cried up this 
book, to consider, whether they do not give the 
world cause to suspect, that it is not the force 
of reason and argument, that makes them for 
absolute monarchy, but some other by interest, 
and therefore are resolved to applaud any au- 
thor, that writes in favour of this doctrine, 
whether he support it with reason or no. But 
I hope they do not expect, that rational and 
indifferent men should be brought over to their 
opinion, because this their great doctor of it, in 
a discourse made on purpose, to set up the 
absolute monarchical power of Adam, in oppo- 
sition to the natural freedom of mankind, has 
said so little to prove it, from whence it is 
rather naturally to be concluded, that there is 
little to be said. 

§. 14. But that I might omit no care to 
inform myself in our author's full sense, I con- 
sulted his Observations on Aristotle, Hobbes, §c. 
to see whether in disputing with others he made 
use of any arguments for this his darling tenet 


of Adams sovereignty ; since in his treatise of 
the Natural power of Kings, he hath been so 
sparing of them. In his Observations on Mr. 
Uobbess Leviathan, 1 think he has put, in 
short, all those arguments for it together, which 
in his writings I find him any where to make 
use of: his words are these: If God created 
only Adam, and of a piece of him made the 
ivoman, and if by generation from them two, as 
parts of them, all mankind be propagated: 
if also God gave to Adam, not only the 
dominion over the woman and the children 
that should issue from them, but also over 
all the earth to subdue it, and over all the 
creatures on it, so that as long as Adam lived, 
no man could claim or enjoy any thing but by 
donation, assignation or permission from /tim, 
I wonder, &c. Observations, p. 165. Here we 
have the sum of all his arguments, for Adam's 
sovereignty, and against natural freedom, which 
I find up and down in his other treatises: and 
they are these following ; God's creation of 
Adam, the dominion he gave him over Eve, and 
the dominion he had as father over his children: 
all which I shall particularly consider. 


Of Adam's Title to Sovereignty by Creation. 

§. 15. Sir Robert, in his preface to his Ob- 
servations on Aristotle s Politics, tells us, A 


natural freedom of mankind cannot be supposed 
without the denial of the creation of Adam : 
but how Adams being created, which was 
nothing 1ml his receiving a being immediately 
from omnipotence and the hand of God, gave 
Adam a sovereignty over any thing-, I cannot 
sec, nor consequently understand, how a sup- 
position of natural freedom is a denial of 'Adam's 
creation, and would be glad any body else 
(since our author did not vouchsafe us the 
fa \ our) would make it out for him: for 1 find 
no difficulty to suppose thv freedom of mankind, 
though I have always believed the creation of 
Adam. He was created, or began to exist by 
God's immediate power, without the interven- 
tion ofparents or the pre-existence of any of the 
same species to beget him, when it pleased 
God he should ; and so did the lion, the king 
of beasts, before him, by the same creating 
power of God : and if hare existence by that 
power, and in that way, will give dominion 
without any more ado, our author, by this 
argument, will make the lion have as good a 
title to it, as he, and certainly the ancienter. 
No! for Adam had his title by the appointment 
of God, says our author in another place. 
Then hare creation gave him not dominion, 
and one might have supposed mankind free 
without the denying the creation of Adam, 
since it was God's appointment made him 

But let us see, hov ' puts his ct ea- 


tion and this appointment together. By the 

appointment of (rod, says Sir Robert, as soon 
as Adam was created, lie teas monarch of the 
world, though he had no subjects ; for though 
there could not be actual government till there 
were subjects, yet by (he right of nature it was 
due to Adam to be governor of his posterity: 
though not in act, yet at least in habit, Adam 
was a king from his creation. I wish lie had 
told us here, what he meant by God's appoint- 
ment : for whatsoever providence orders, or 
the law of nature directs, or positive revelation 
declares, may be said to he by God's appoint- 
ment : but I suppose it cannot be meant here 
in the first sense, i. e. by providence ; because 
that would be to say no more, but that as soon 
as Adam was created he was dej'acto monarch, 
because by right of nature it was due to Adam, 
to be governor of his posterity. But he could 
not de facto be by providence constituted the 
governor of the world, at a time when there was 
actually no government, no subjects to be go- 
verned, which our author here confesses. 
Monarch of the world is also differently used 
by our author; for sometimes he means by 
it a proprietor of all the world exclusive of 
the rest of mankind, and thus he does in the 
same page of his preface before cited : Adam. 
says he, being commanded to multiply and peo- 
ple the earth, and to subdue it, and having 
dominion given him over all creatures, teas 
thereby the monarch of the whole world; none 



of his posterity had any right to possess any thing 
but by his grant or permission, or by succession 
from him. 2. Let us understand then by mo- 
narch proprietor of the world, and by appoint- 
ment Gods actual donation, and revealed posi- 
tive grant made to Adam, Gen. i. 28. as we 
see Sir Robert himself does in this parallel 
place, and then his argument will stand thus : 
by the positive grant of God, as soon as Adam 
was created, he teas proprietor of the world, 
because by the right of nature it was due to 
Adam to be governor of his posterity. In which 
way of arguing there are two manifest false- 
hoods. First, It is false, that God made that 
grant to Adam, as soon as he was created, 
since, though it stands in the text immediately 
after his creation, yet it is plain it could not 
be spoken to Adam, till after Eve was made 
and brought to him : and how then could he 
be monarch by appoint ment as soon as created, 
especially since he calls, if I mistake not, that 
which God says to Eve, Gen. iii. 16, the ori- 
ginal grant of government, which not being till 
after the fall, when Adam was somewhat, at 
least in time, and very much distant in con- 
dition, from his creation, I cannot see, how our 
author can say in this sense, that by God's ap- 
pointment, as soon as Adam ivas created, he 
was monarch of the world. Secondly, were it 
true that God's actual donation appointed Adam 
monarch of the world as soon as he icas created, 
yet the reason here given for it, would not prove 


ii ; but it would always be a false inference, 
that God, by a positive donation, appointed 
Adam monarch of the world, because by right 
of nature it was due to Adam to be governor of 
his posterity : for having given him the right 
of government by nature, there was no need 
of a positive donation ; at least it will never be 
a proof of such a donation. 

§. 17. On the other side the matter will not 
be much mended, if we understand by God's 
appointment the law of nature, (though it be a 
pretty harsh expression for it in this place) and 
by monarch of the ivorld, sovereign ruler of 
mankind : for then the sentence under consi- 
deration must run thus : By the law of nature, 
as soon as Adam was created he was governor 
of mankind, for by right of nature it was due to 
Adam to be governor of his posterity ; which 
amounts to this, he was governor by right of 
nature, because he was governor by right of 
nature: but supposing we should grant, that 
a man is by nature governor of his children, 
Adam could not hereby be a monarch as soon 
as created : for this right of nature being found- 
ed in his being their father, how Adam could 
have a natural right to be governor, before he 
was a father, when by being a father only he 
had that right, is methinks, hard to conceive, 
unless he will have him to be a father before 
lie was a father, and to have a title before he 
had it. 

<§. 18. To this foreseen objection, our author 
c 2 


answers very logically, he was governor in 
habit, and not in act: a very pretty way of 
beins* a Governor without government, a father 
without children, and a king without subjects. 
And thus Sir Robert was an author before he 
writ his book ; not in act, it is true, but in 
habit; for when he had once published it, it 
was due to him by the right of nature, to be 
an author, as much as it was to Adam to be 
governor of his children, when he had begot 
them : and if to be such a monarch of the world, 
an absolute monarch in habit, but not in act, 
will serve the turn, I should not much envy 
it to any of Sir Robert's friends, that he 
thought fit graciously to bestow it upon, though 
even this of acrand habit, if it signified any 
thing but our author's skill in distinctions, 
be not to his purpose in this place. For the 
question is not here about Adams actual ex- 
ercise of government, but actually having a 
title to be governor. Government, says our 
author, was due to Adam by the right of na- 
ture: what is this right of nature? A right 
fathers have over their children by begetting 
them ; gcneratione jus acquiritur parentibus 
in liberos, says our author out of Grotius, 
Observations, '223. The right then follows 
the begetting as arising from it ; so that, ac- 
cording to this way of reasoning or distin- 
guishing of our author, Adam, as soon as he 
was created, had a title only in habit, and not 
in act, which in plain English is, he had ac- 
tually no title at all. 


i: 19. To speak less learnedly, and more 
intelligibly, one may say of Adam, he was in a 
possibility of" being- governor, since it was 
possible lie might beget children, and thereby 
acquire that right of nature, be it what it will, 
to govern them, that accrues from thence : but 
what connection has this with Adams creation, 
to make him say, that, as soon as he was created, 
he was monarch of the world 1 , for it may be as 
well said of Noah, that as soon as he was born, 
he was monarch of the world, since he was in 
possibility (which in our author's sense is 
enough to make a monarch, a monarch in 
habit,) to outlive all mankind, but his own 
posterity. What such necessary connexion 
there is betwixt Adams creation and his right 
to government, so that a natural freedom of man- 
kind cannot be supposed without the denial of 
the creation of Adam, 1 confess for my part I 
do not see; nor how those words, by the ap- 
pointment, cj'c. Observations, 25 J. however 
explained, can be put together, to make any 
tolerable sense, at least to establish this posi- 
tion, with which they end, viz. Adam was a 
king from his creation; a king, says our author, 
not in act but in habit, i. c actually no king 
at all. 

§. 20. I fear T have tired my reader's pa- 
tience, by dwelling longer on this passage, than 
the weightiness of any argument in it seems 
to require; but I have unavoidably been 
engaged in it by our author's way of writing, 


•who, huddling several suppositions together, 
and that in doubtful and general terms, makes 
such a medley and confusion, that it is impos- 
sible to shew his mistakes, without examining 
the several senses wherein his words may be 
taken, and without seeing how, in any of these 
various meanings, they will consist together, 
and have any truth in them : for in this present 
passage before us, how can any one argue 
against this position of his, that Adam teas a 
king from his creation, unless one examine, 
whether the words, from his creation, be to 
be taken, as they may, for the time of the 
commencement of his government, as the fore- 
going words import, as soon as he was created 
he ivas monarch ; or, for the cause of it, as he 
says, p. 11. creation made man prince of his 
posterity ? how farther can one judge of the 
truth of his being thus king, till one has exa- 
mined whether king be to be taken, as the 
words in the beginning of this passage would 
persuade, on supposition of his private do- 
minion, which was, by Gods positive grant, 
monarch of the world by appointment ; or king 
on supposition of his fatherly power over his 
offspring, which was by nature, due by the right 
of nature ; whether, I say, king be to be taken 
in both, or one only of these two senses, or in 
neither of them, but only this, that creation 
made him prince, in a way different from both 
the other? For though this assertion, that 
Adam was king from his creation, be due in no 


sense, yet it stands here as an evident conclu- 
sion drawn from the preceding- words, though 
in truth it he but a bare assertion joined to 
other assertions of the same kind, which confi- 
dently put together in words of undetermined 
and dubious meaning-, look like a sort of 
arguing, when there is indeed neither proof nor 
connection: a way very familiar with our 
author: of which having given the reader a 
taste here, I shall, as much as the argument 
will permit me, avoid touching on hereafter; 
and should not have done it here, were it not 
to let the world see, how incoherences in 
matter, and suppositions without proofs put 
handsomely together in good words and a 
plausible stile, are apt to pass for strong- reason 
and good sense, till they come to be looked 
into with attention. 


Of Adam's Title to Sovereignty by Donation, 
Gen. i. 28. 

§. 21. Having at last got through the fore- 
going passage, where we have been so long- 
detained, not bv the force of arguments and 
opposition, but by the intricacy of the words, 
and the doubtfulness of the meaning ; let us 
go on to his next argument for Adam's sove- 
reignty. Our author tells us in the words of 
Mr. Selaen, that ^idam hy donation from God, 


Gen. i. 28. was made the general lord of all 
things, not without such a private dominion to 
himself, as without his grant did exclude his 
children. This determination of Mr. Selden, 
says our author, is consonant to the history of 
the Bible, and natural reason, Observations 
210. And in his Pref. to his Observations on 
Aristotle, he says thus, The first government 
in the ivorld was monarchial in the father of 
all flesh, Adam being commanded to people and 
multiply the earth, and to subdue it, and having 
dominion given him over all creatures, was 
thereby the monarch of the whole world: none 
of his posterity had any right to possess any 
thing, but by his grant or permission, or by 
succession from him: The earth, saith the 
Psalmist, hath he given to the children of men, 
which shew the title comes from fatherhood , 

§. 22. Before I examine this argument, and 
the text on which it is founded, it is necessary 
to desire the reader to observe, that our au- 
thor, according to his usual method, begins 
in one sense, and concludes in another; he 
begins here with Adam's propriety, or private 
dominion, by donation; and his conclusion is, 
which shew the title comes from fatherhood. 

§. 23. But let us see the argument. The 
words of the text are these : and God blessed 
them, and God said unto them, be fruitful and 
multiply, toid replenish the earth and subdue it, 
and have dominion over the Jish of the sea, and 
over the fowl of the air, and over every living 


thing' that moveth on the earth, Gen. i. *28. from 
whence our author concludes, that Adam, 
having here dominion given him over all crea- 
tures, ivas therehy the monarch of the whole 
world: whereby must he meant, that either 
this grant of God gave Adam property, or as 
our author calls it, private dominion over the 
earth, and all inferior or irrational creatures, 
and so consequently that he was thereby mo- 
narch: or 2dly, that it gave him rule and 
dominion over all earthly creatures whatso- 
ever, and thereby over his children ; and so 
he was monarch : for, as Mr. Selden has pro- 
perly worded it, Adam was made general lord 
of all things, one may very clearly understand 
him, that he means nothing to be granted to 
Adam here but property, and therefore he says 
not one word of Adams monarchy . J3ut our 
author says, Adam was hereby monarch of the 
world, which, properly speaking, signifies so- 
vereign ruler of all the men in the world ; and 
so Adam, by this grant, must be constituted 
such a ruler. If our author means otherwise, 
he might with much clearness have said, that 
Adam was hereby proprietor of the whole world. 
But he begs your pardon in that point: clear 
distinct speaking not serving every where to 
his purpose, you must not expect it in him, 
as in Mr. Selden, or other such writers. 

§. 24. In opposition therefore to our author's 
doctrine, that Adam was monarch of the whole 
world, founded on this place, I shall shew, 


1. That by this grant, Gen. i. 28. God gave 
no immediate power to Adam over men, over 
his children, over those of his own species; 
and so he was not made ruler, or monarch, by 
this charter. 

2. That by this grant God gave him not 
private dominion over the inferior creatures, 
but right in common with all mankind ; so 
neither was he monarch, upon the account of 
the property here given him. 

§. 25. That this donation, Gen. i. 28. gave 
Adam no power over men, will appear if we 
consider the words of it : for since all positive 
grants convey no more than the express words 
they are made in will carry, let us see which 
of them here will comprehend mankind, or 
Adam's posterity; and those, I imagine, if any, 
must be these, evert/ living thing thai moveth : 
the words in Hebrew are rwftin nvr i.e. JSes- 
tiam Repfanlem, of which words the scripture 
itself is the best interpreter: God having created 
the fishes and fouls the fifth day, the beginning 
of the sixth he creates the irrational inhabitants 
of the dry land, which, v. 24. are described in 
these words, let the earth bring forth the living 
creature after his hind; cattle and creeping 
things, and beasts of the earth, after his kind. 
v. 2. And God made the beasts of the earth 
after his hind, and cattle after their hind, and 
every tiling that creepeth on the earth after his 
hind: here, in the creation of the brute inhabi- 
tants of the earth, he first speaks of them all 


under one general name, of living creatures, 
and then afterwards divides them into three 
ranks, 1. Cattle, or such creatures as were or 
might be tame, and so be the private posses- 
sion of particular men ; 2. nvr which, vcr. 24 
and 25. in our Bible, is translated beasts, and 
by the Sepluagint 6>]pia, ivild beasts, and is the 
same word, that here in our text, ver. 28. 
where we have this great charter to Adam, is 
translated living thins- and is also the same 
word used, Gen. ix. 2. where this grant is 
renewed to Noah, and there likewise transla- 
ted beast. 5. The third rank were the creeping 
animals, which ver. 24 and 25. are comprised 
under the word JittfDTr, the same that is used 
here, ver. 28. and is translated moving, but in 
the former verses creeping, and by the Seplua- 
gint in all these places, ip-ire-fr, or reptiles ; from 
whence it appears, that the words which we 
translate here in God's donation, ver 28. living 
creatures moving, are the same, Which in the 
history of the creation, ver. 24, 25. signify two 
ranks of terrestrial creatures, viz. wild beasts 
and reptiles, and are so understood by the 
Septuagint . 

§. 26. When God had made the irrational 
animals of the world, divided into three kinds, 
from the places of their habitation, viz. Jishcs 
of the sea, fowls of the air, and living creatures 
of the earth, and these again into cattle, wild 
beasts, and reptiles, he considers of making 
man, and the dominion lie should ha\e over 


the terrestrial world, ver. 26. and then he 
reckons up the inhabitants of these three king- 
doms, but in the terrestrial leaves out the second 
rank nrr or wild beasts : but here, ver. 28. 
where he actually exercises this design, and 
gives him this dominion, the text mentions the 
fishes of the sea, and fowls of the air, and the 
terrestrial creatures in the words that signify the 
wild beasts and reptiles, though translated 
living thing that movelh, leaving out cattle. 
In both which places, though the word that 
signifies wild beasts be omitted in one, and 
that which signifies cattle in the other, yet, 
since God certainly executed in one place, 
what he declares he designed in the other, we 
cannot but understand the same in both places, 
and have here only an account, how the ter- 
restrial irrational animals, which were already 
created and reckoned up at their creation, in 
three distinct ranks of cattle, wild beasts, and 
reptiles, were here, ver. 28. actually put under 
the dominion of man, as they were designed 
ver. 26. nor do these words contain in them 
the least appearance of any thing that can be 
wrested to signify Gods giving to one man 
dominion over another, to Adam over his 

*. 27. And this further appears from Gen. 

ix. 2. where God renewing this charter to ISoah 

and his sous, he gives them dominion over the 

fouls of the air, and the fishes of the sea, and the 

terrestrial creatures, expressed by rvn and t^DTT 


wild beasts and reptiles, the same words that 
in the text before us, Gen. i. 28. are translated 
every moving thing, that moveth on the earth, 
which by no means can comprehend man, the 
grant being made to Noah and his sons, all the 
men then living-, and not to one part of men 
over another : which is yet more evident from 
the very next words, ver. 3. where God gives 
every W21 every moving thing, the very words 
used, ch. i. 28. to them for food. By all which 
it is plain that God's donation to Adam, ch. i. 
28. and his designation, ver. 26. and his grant 
again to Noah and his sons, refer to and con- 
tain in them neither more nor less than the 
works of the creation the fifth day, and the 
beginning of the sixth, as they are set down 
from the 20th to the 26th ver. inclusively of 
the 1st chap, and so comprehend all the species 
of irrational animals of the terraqueous globe, 
though all the words, whereby they are ex- 
pressed in the history of their creation, are no 
where used in any of the following grants, but 
some of them omitted in one, and some in 
another. From whence I think it is past all 
doubt, that man cannot be comprehended in 
this grant, nor any dominion over those of his 
own species be conveyed to Adam. All the 
terrestrial irrational creatures are enumerated 
at their creation, ver. 25. under the names 
beasts of the earth, cattle and creeping things ; 
but man being not then created, was not con- 
tained under any of those names ; and there- 


fore, whether we understand the Hebrew 
words right or uo, they cannot be supposed to 
comprehend man, in the very same history, and 
the very next verses following, especially since 
that Hebrew word ttfS") which, if any in this 
donation to Adam, ch. i. 28. must comprehend 
man, is so plainly used in contradistinction to 
him, as Gen. vi. 20. vii. 14,21, 23. Gen. viii. 17, 
19. And if God made all mankind slaves to 
Adam and his heirs, by giving Adam dominion 
over every living thing that movelhon the earth, 
ch. i. 28. as our author would have it, methinks 
Sir Robert should have carried his monarchial 
power one step higher, and satisfied the world, 
that princes might eat their subjects too, since 
God gave as full power to Noah and his heirs, 
ch. ix. 2. to eat every living tiling that move/ A, 
us he did to Adam to have dominion over 
them, the Hebrew words in both places being 
the same. 

§. 28. David, who might be supposed to 
understand the donation of God in this text, 
and the right of kings too, as well as our 
author in his comment on this place, as the 
learned and judicious Ainsivorth calls it, in the 
8th Psalm, finds here uo such charter of mo- 
narchial power : his words are, Thou hast made 
him, i. e. man, the son of man, a little lower 
than the angels; thou modest him to have 
dominion over the works of thy hands ; thou hast 
put all things under his feel, all sheep and oxen, 
and the beasts of the field, and the fowls of the 


air, and fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth 
through the paths of the sea. In which words, 
if any one can find out, that there is meant any 
monarchial power of one man over another, but 
only the dominion of the whole species of 
mankind, over the inferior species of creatures, 
he may, for aught I know, deserve to be one of 
Sir Robert's monarch s in habit, for the rareness 
of the discovery. And by this time, I hope it 
is evident, that he that gave dominion over every 
living thing that moveth on the earth, gave 
Adam no monarchial power over those of his 
own species, which will yet appear more fully 
in the next thing I am to shew. 

§. 29. 2. Whatever God gave by the words 
of this grant, Gen. i. 28. it was not to Adam 
in particular, exclusive of all other men : what- 
ever dominion he had thereby, it was not a 
private dominion, but a dominion in common 
with the rest of mankind. That this donation 
was not made in particular to Adam, appears 
evidently from the words of the text, it being 
made to more than one; for it was spoken in 
the plural number, God blessed them, and said 
unto them, Have dominion. God says unto 
Adam and Eve, Have dominion ; thereby, says 
our author, Adam was monarch of the world : 
but the grant being to them, i. e. spoke to Eve 
also, as many interpreters think with reason, 
that these words were not spoken till Adam 
had his wife, must not she thereby be lady, as 
Mill as he lord of the world? If it be said, thai 


Eve was subjected to Adam, it seems she was 
not so subjected to him, as to binder her do- 
minion over the creatures, or property in them: 
for shall we say that God ever made a joint 
grant to two, and one only was to have the 
benefit of it I 

§. 30. But perhaps it will be said, Eve was 
not made till afterward : grant it so, what ad- 
vantage will our author get by it? The text will 
be only the more directly against him, and shew 
that God, in this donation, gave the world to 
mankind in common, and not to Adam in parti- 
cular. The word them in the text must include 
the species of man, for it is certain them can by 
no means signify Adam alone. In the 26th 
verse, where God declares his intention to give 
this dominion, it is plain he meant, that he 
would make a species of creatures, that should 
have dominion over the other species of this 
terrestrial globe : the words are, And God said, 
Let ns make man in our image, after our like- 
ness, and let them have dominion over the Jish, 
<§c. They then were to have dominion. Who? 
even those who were to have the image of God, 
the individuals of that species of man, that 
he was going to make; for that them should 
signify Adam singly, exclusive of the rest that 
should be in the world with him, is against 
both scripture and all reason: and it cannot 
possibly be made sense, if man in the former 
part of the verse do not signify the same with 
them in the latter ; only man there, as is usual, 


is taken for the species, and them the indivi- 
duals of that species: and we have a reason 
in the very text. God makes him in his own 
image, after his own likeness; makes him an 
intellectual creature, and so capable of do- 
minion: for whereinsoever else the image of 
God consisted, the intellectual nature was 
certainly a part of it, and belonged to the whole 
species, and enabled them to have dominion 
over the inferior creatures ; and therefore David 
says in the 8th Psalm above cited, Thou hast 
made him little lower than the angels, thou hast 
made him to have dominion. It is not of Adam 
king' David speaks here, for verse 4. it is plain, 
it is of man, and the son of man, of the species 
of mankind. 

§.31. And that this grant spoken to Adam 
was made to him, and the whole species of 
man, is clear from our author's own proof out 
of the Psalmist. The earth, saith the Psalmist, 
hath he given to the children of men; which 
shews the title comes from fatherhood. These 
are Sir Roberfs words in the preface before 
cited, and a strange inference it is he makes ; 
God hath given the earth to the children of men, 
ergo the title comes from fatherhood. It is pity 
the propriety of the Hebrew tongue had not 
used fathers of men, instead of children of men, 
to express mankind, then indeed our author 
might have had the countenance of the sound 
of words, to have placed the title in the father- 
hood. But to conclude, that the fatherhood 



had the right to the earth, because God gave it 
to the children of men, is a way of arguing 
peculiar to our author : and a man must have 
a great mind to go contrary to the sound as 
well as the sense of the words before he could 
light on it. But the sense is yet harder, 
and more remote from our author's purpose : 
for as it stands in his preface, it is to prove 
Adam's being monarch, and his reasoning is 
thus, God gave the earth to the children of men, 
ergo Adam was monarch of the world. I defy 
any man to make a more pleasant conclusion 
than this, which cannot be excused from the 
most obvious absurdity, till it can be shewn, 
that by children of men, he who had no father, 
Adam alone is signified ; but whatever our 
author does, the scripture speaks not nonsense. 

§. 32. To maintain this property and private 
dominion of Adam, our author labours in the 
following page to destroy the community grant- 
ed to Noah and his sons, in that parallel 
place, Gen. ix. 1, 2, 3, and he endeavours to 
do it two ways. 

1 . Sir Robert would persuade us against the 
express words of the scripture, that what was 
here granted to Noah, was not granted to his 
sons in common with him. His words are, 
As for the general community betiveen Noah and 
his sons, which Mr. Selden will have to be 
granted to them, Gen. ix. 2. the text doth not 
warrant it. What warrant our author would 
have, when the plain express words of scrip- 


tare, not capable of another meaning, will not 
satisfy him, who pretends to build wholly on 
scripture, is not easy to imagine. The text 
says, God blessed Noah and his sons, and said 
unto them, i. e. as our author would have it, 
unto him: for, saith he, although the sons are 
there mentioned with Noah in the blessing, yet 
it may best be understood, with a subordination 
or benediction in succession, Observations, 21 J. 
That indeed is best, for our author to be under- 
stood, which best serves to his purpose; but 
that truly may best be understood by any body 
else, which best agrees with the plain construc- 
tion of the words, and arises from the obvious 
meaning of the place ; and then with subordi- 
nation and in succession, will not be best under- 
stood, in a grant of God, where he himself put 
them not, nor mentions any such limitation. 
But yet, our author has reasons, why it may 
best be understood so. The blessing, says he 
in the following words, might truly be fidjilled, 
if the sons, either under or after their father, 
enjoyed a private dominion, Observations, 211. 
which is to say, that a grant, whose express 
words give a joint title in present (for the text 
says, into your hands they are delivered) may 
best be understood with a subordination, or 
in succession; because it is possible, that in 
subordination, or in succession, it may be 
enjoyed. Which is all one as to say, that a 
grant of any thing in present possession, may 
best be understood of reversion ; because it is 

d 2 


possible one may live to enjoy it in reversion. 
Ifthe grant be indeed to a father and to his 
sons after him, who is so kind as to let his 
children enjoy it presently in common with 
him, one may truly say, as to the event one 
will be as good as the other ; but it can never 
be true, that what the express words grant 
in possession, and in common, may best be un- 
derstood, to be in reversion. The sum of all his 
reasoning amounts to this : God did not give to 
the sons of Noah the world in common with 
their father, because it was possible they might 
enjoy it under, or after him. A very good 
sort of argument against an express text of 
scripture : but God must not be believed, 
though he speaks it himself, when he says he 
does any thing, which will not consist with Sir 
Robert's hypothesis. 

§. 33. For it is plain, however he would ex- 
clude them, that part of this benediction, as he 
would have it in succession, must needs be 
meant to the sons, and not to Noah himself 
at all : Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish 
the earth, says God, in this blessing. This part 
of the benediction, as appears by the sequel, 
concerned not Noah himself at all : for we 
read not of any children he had after the flood ; 
and in the following chapter, where his posterity 
is reckoned up, there is no mention of any ; 
and so this benediction in succession was not 
to take place till 350 years after : and to save 
our author's imaginary monarchy, the peopling 


of the world must be deferred 350 years ; for 
this part of the benediction cannot be under- 
stood with subordination, unless our author 
will say, that they must ask leave of their father 
Noah to lie with their wives. But in this one 
point our author is constant to himself in all 
his discourses, he takes great care there should 
be monarchs in the world, but very little that 
there should be people; and indeed his way of 
government is not the way to people the 
world : for how much absolute monarchy helps 
to fulfil this great and primary blessing of God 
Almighty, Be fruitful, and multiply, and re- 
plenish the earth, which contains in it the 
improvement too of arts and sciences, and the 
conveniences of life, may be seen in those large 
and rich countries which are happy under the 
Turkish government, where are not now to be 
found one third, nay, in many, if not most 
parts of them one thirtieth, perhaps I might 
say not one hundredth of the people, that were 
formerly, as will easily appear to any one, who 
will compare the accounts we have of it at this 
time, with antient history. But this by the by. 
§. 34. The other parts of this benediction, or 
grant, are so expressed, that they must needs 
be understood to belong equally to them all ; 
as much to Noah's sons as to Noah himself, 
and not to his sons ivith a subordination, or in 
succession. The fear of you, and the dread of 
you, says God, shall be upon every beast, &c. 
Will any body but our author say, that the 


creatures feared and stood in awe of Noah 
only, and not of his sons without his leave, or 
till after his death? And the following words, 
into your hands they are delivered, are they to 
be understood as our author says, if your 
father please, or they shall be delivered into 
your hands hereafter? If this be to argue from 
scripture, I know not what may not be proved 
by it ; and I can scarce see how much this 
differs from that fiction and fansie, or how 
much a surer foundation it will prove, than 
the opinions of philosophers and poets, which 
our author so much condemns in his preface. 

§. 35. But our author goes on to prove, that 
it may best be understood with a subordination, 
or a benediction in succession ; for, says he, it is 
not probable that the private dominion which 
God gave to Adam, and by his donation, assig- 
nation, or cession to his children, teas abrogated, 
and a community of all things instituted between 

Noah and his sons Noah was left the sole 

heir of the world; tvhy shoidd it be thought 
that God ivould disinherit him of his birth- 
right, and make him of all men in the icorld 
the only tenant in common with his children? 
Observations, 211. 

§. 36. The prejudices of our own ill-ground- 
ed opinions, however by us called probable, 
cannot authorise us to understand scripture 
contrary to the direct and plain meaning of 
the words. 1 grant, it is not probable, that 
Adam's )>rivale dominion was here abrogated: 


because it is more than probable, (for it will 
never be proved) that ever Adam had any such 
private dominion: and since parallel places of 
scripture are most probable to make us know 
how they may be best understood, there needs 
but the comparing this blessing here to Noah 
and his sons after the flood, with that to Adam 
after the creation, Gen. i. 28. to assure any one 
that God gave Adam no such private domi- 
nion. It is probable, I confess, that Noah 
should have the same title, the same property 
and dominion after the flood, that Adam had 
before it : but since private dominion cannot 
consist with the blessing and grant God gave 
to him and his sons in common, it is a suffi- 
cient reason to conclude, that Adam had none, 
especially since in the donation made to him, 
there are no words that express it, or do in the 
least favour it ; and then let my reader judge 
whether it may best be understood, when in the 
one place there is not one word for it, not to 
say what has been above proved, that the text 
itself proves the contrary ; and in the other, 
the words and sense are directly against it. 

§. 37. But our author says, Noah urns the 
sole heir of the world ; why should it be thought 
that God tvoidd disinherit him of his birth- 
right? Heir, indeed, in England, signifies the 
eldest son, who is by the law of England to 
have all his father's land ; but Avhere God 
ever appointed any such heir of the world, 
our author would have done well to have 


shewed us ; and how God disinherited him of 
his birth-right, or what harm was done him if 
God gave his sons a right to make use of a 
part of the earth for the support of themselves 
and families, when the whole was not only 
more than Noah himself, but infinitely more 
than they all could make use of, and the pos- 
sessions of one could not at all prejudice, or, 
as to any use, streighten that of the other. 

§. 38. Our author probably foreseeing he 
might not be very successful in persuading 
people out of their senses, and, say what he 
could, men would be apt to believe the plain 
words of scripture, and think, as they saw, 
that the grant was spoken to Noah and his 
sons jointly; he endeavours to insinuate, as 
if this grant to Noah conveyed no property, 
no dominion ; because, subduing the earth and 
dominion over the creatures are therein omit- 
ted, nor the earth once named. And therefore, 
says he, there is a considerable difference be- 
tween these two texts ; the first blessing gave 
Adam a dominion over the earth and all crea- 
tures; the latter allows Noah liberty to use the 
living creatures for food: here is no alteration 
or diminishing of his title to a property of all 
things, but an enlargement only of his com- 
mons, Observations, 211. So that in our 
author's sense, all that was said here to Noah 
and his sons, gave them no dominion, no pro- 
perty, but only enlarged the commons; their 
commons, I should say, since God says, to you 


are they given, though our author says his ; for 
as for Noah's sons, they, it seems, by Sir Ro- 
bert's appointment, during - their father's life- 
time, were to keep fasting days. 

§. 39. Any one but our author would be 
mightily suspected to be blinded with preju- 
dice, that in all this blessing to Noah and his 
sons, could see nothing but only an enlarge- 
ment of commons : for as to dominion which 
our author thinks omitted, the fear of you, and 
the dread of you, says God, shall be upon every 
beast, which I suppose expresses the dominion^ 
or superiority was designed man over the 
living creatures, as fully as may be ; for in that 
fear and dread seems chiefly to consist what 
was given to Adam over the inferior animals ; 
who, as absolute a monarch as he was, could 
not make bold with a lark or rabbet to satisfy 
his hunger, and had the herbs but in common 
with the beasts, as is plain from Gen. i. 2, 9, 
and 30. In the next place, it is manifest that 
in this blessing to Noah and his sons, property 
is not only given in clear words, but in a 
larger extent than it was to Adam. Into your 
hands they are given, says God to Noah and 
his sons ; which words, if they give not pro- 
perty, nay, property in possession, it will be 
hard to find words that can; since there is not 
a way to express a man's being possessed of 
any thing more natural, nor more certain, than 
to say, it is delivered into his hands. And 
ver. 3. to shew, that they had then given them 


the utmost property man is capable of, which 
is to have a right to destroy any thing by 
using it ; Every moving thing that liveth, saith 
God, shall be meat for you; which was not al- 
lowed to Adam in his charter. This our au- 
thor calls a liberty of using them for food, and 
only an enlargement of commons, but no altera- 
tion of property, Observations, 21 1. What other 
property man can have in the creatures, but the 
liberty of using them, is hard to be understood : 
so that if the first blessing, as our author says, 
gave Adam dominion over the creatures, and 
the blessing to Noah and his sons, gave them 
such a liberty to use them, as Adam had not; 
it must needs give them something that Adam 
with all his sovereignty wanted, something that 
one would be apt to take for a greater proper- 
ty ; for certainly he has no absolute dominion 
over even the brutal part of the creatures ; and 
the property he has in them is very narrow and 
scanty, who cannot make that use of them, 
which is permitted to another. Should any 
one who is absolute lord of a country, have 
bidden our author subdue the earth, and given 
him dominion over the creatures in it, but not 
have permitted him to have taken a kid or a 
lamb out of the flock, to satisfy his hunger, 
I guess, he would scarce have thought him- 
self lord or proprietor of that land, or the 
cattle on it; but would have found the dif- 
ference between having dominion, which a 
shepherd may have, and having full property 


as an owner. So that, had it been his own 
case, Sir Robert, I believe, would have thought 
here was an alteration, nay, an enlarging of 
property ; and that Noah and his children had 
by this grant, not only property given them, 
but such a property given them in the crea- 
tures, as Adam had not : for however, in re- 
spect of one another, men may be allowed 
to have propriety in their distinct portions of 
the creatures ; yet in respect of God the maker 
of heaven and earth, who is sole lord and pro- 
prietor of the whole world, man's propriety 
in the creatures is nothing but that liberty to 
use them, which God has permitted ; and so 
man's property may be altered and enlarged, 
as we see it was here, after the flood, when 
other uses of them are allowed, which before 
were not. From all which 1 suppose it is 
clear, that neither Adam, nor Noah, had any 
private dominion, any property in the crea- 
tures, exclusive of his posterity, as they should 
successively grow up into need of them, and 
come to be able to make use of them. 

§. 40. Thus we have examined our author's 
argument for Adams monarchy, founded on 
the blessing pronounced, Gen. i. 28. wherein I 
think it is impossible for any sober reader, to 
find any other but the setting of mankind 
above the other kinds of creatures, in this 
habitable earth of ours. It is nothing but the 
giving lo man, the whole species of man, as 
the chief inhabitant, who is the image of hi^ 


maker, the dominion over the other creatures. 
This lies so obvious in the plain words, that 
any one, but our author, would have thought it 
necessary to have shewn, how these words, 
that seemed to say quite the contrary, gave 
Adam monarchial absolute power over other men, 
or the sole property in all the creatures ; and 
methinks in a business of this moment, and 
that whereon he builds all that follows, he 
should have done something* more than barely 
cite words, which apparently make against 
him ; for I confess, I cannot see any thing in 
them, tending to Adams monarchy, or private 
dominion, but quite the contrary. And I the 
less deplore the dulness of my apprehension 
herein, since I find the apostle seems to have 
as little notion of any such private dominion of 
Adam as 1, when he says, God gives ns all things 
richly to enjoy, which he could not do, if it were 
all given away already, to monarch Adam, and 
the monarchs his heirs and successors. To 
conclude, this text is so far from proving Adam 
sole proprietor, that, on the contrary, it is a 
confirmation of the original community of all 
things amongst the sons of men, which appear- 
ing from this donation of God, as well as other 
places of scripture, the sovereignty of Adam, 
built upon his private dominion, must fall, not 
having any foundation to support it. 

§.41. But yet, if after all, any one will 
needs have it so, that by this donation of God, 
Adam was made sole proprietor of the whole 


earth, what will this be to his sovereignty? and 
how will it appear, that propriety in land gives 
a man power over the life of another? or how 
will the possession even of the whole earth, 
give any one a sovereign arbitrary authority 
over the persons of men? The most specious 
thing to be said, is, that he that is proprietor 
of the whole world, may deny all the rest of 
mankind food, and so at his pleasure starve 
them, if they will not acknowledge his so- 
vereignty, and obey his will. If this were 
true, it would be a good argument to prove, 
that there never was any such property, that 
God never gave any such private dominion ; 
since it is more reasonable to think, that God, 
who bid mankind increase and multiply, should 
rather himself give them all a right to make 
use of the food and raiment, and other conve- 
niences of life, the materials whereof he had 
so plentifully provided for them ; than to make 
them depend upon the will of a man for their 
subsistence, who should have power to destroy 
them all when he pleased, and who, being no 
better than other men, was in succession like- 
lier, by want and the dependence of a scanty 
fortune, to tie them to hard service, than by 
liberal allowance of the conveniences of life to 
promote the great design of God, increase and 
multiply : he that doubts this, let him look into 
the absolute monarchies of the world, and see 
what becomes of the conveniences of life, and 
the multitudes of people. 


§. 42. But we know God hath not left one 
man so to the mercy of another, that he may 
starve him if he please : God the Lord and 
Father of all, has given no one of his children 
such a property in his peculiar portion of the 
things of this world, but that he has given his 
needy brother a right to the surplusage of his 
goods; so that it cannot justly be denied him, 
when his pressing wants call for it : and there- 
fore no man could ever have a just power over 
the life of another by right of property in land 
or possessions ; since it would always be a sin, 
in any man of estate, to let his brother perish 
for want of affording him relief out of his 
plenty. As justice gives every man a title to 
the product of his honest industry, and the 
fair acquisitions of his ancestors descended to 
him ; so charity gives every man a title to so 
much out of another's plenty, as will keep him 
from extreme want, where he has no means 
to subsist otherwise : and a man can no more 
justly make use of another's necessity, to force 
him to become his vassal, by with-holding that 
relief, God requires him to afford to the wants 
of his brother, than he that has more strength 
can seize upon a weaker, master him to his 
obedience, and with a dagger at his throat offer 
him death or slavery. 

§. 43. Should any one make so perverse an 
use of God's blessings poured on him with a 
liberal hand ; should any one be cruel and un- 
charitable to that extremity, yet all this would 


not prove that propriety in land, even in this 
case, gave any authority over the persons of 
men, but only that compact might ; since the 
authority of the rich proprietor, and the sub- 
jection of the needy beggar, began not from 
the possession of the lord, but the consent of 
the poor man, who preferred being his subject 
to starving. And the man he thus submits to, 
can pretend to no more power over him, than 
he has consented to, upon compact. Upon 
this ground a man's having his stores filled in 
a time of scarcity, having money in his pocket, 
being in a vessel at sea, being able to swim, fyc. 
may as well be the foundation of rule and 
dominion, as being possessor of all the land 
in the world ; any of these being sufficient to 
enable me to save a man's life, who would 
perish if such assistance were denied him ; 
and any thing, by this rule, that may be an 
occasion of working upon another's necessity, 
to save his life, or any thing dear to him, at the 
rate of his freedom, may be made a foundation 
of sovereignty, as well as property. From all 
which it is clear, that though God should have 
given Adam private dominion, yet that private 
dominion could give him no sovereignty ; but 
we have already sufficiently proved, that God 
gave him no private dominion. 



Of Adam's Title to sovereignty by the subjec- 
tion o/"Eve. 

§. 44. The next place of scripture we find 
our author builds his monarchy of Adam on, 
is, Gen. iii. 26. And thy desire shall be to thy 
husband, and he shall rule over thee. Here ice 
have (says he) the original grant of government , 
from whence he concludes, in the following 
part of the page, Observations, 244. That the 
supreme poiver is settled in the fatherhood, and 
limited to one kind of government, that is, to 
monarchy. For let his premises be what they 
will, this is always the conclusion ; let rule, in 
any text, be but once named, and presently 
absolute monarchy is by divine right established. 
If any one will but carefully read our author's 
own reasoning from these words, Observations, 
244. and consider, among other things, the 
line and posterity of Adam, as he there brings 
them in, he will find some difficulty to make 
sense of what he says ; but we will allow this 
at present to his peculiar May of writing, and 
consider the force of the text in hand. The 
words are the curse of God upon the woman 
for having been the first and forwardest in the 
disobedience ; and if we will consider the 
occasion of what God says here to our first 
parents, that he was denouncing judgement, 


and declaring lii.s wrath against them both, 
for their disobedience, we cannot suppose that 
this was the time, wherein God was granting 
Adam prerogatives and privileges, investing 
him with dignity and authority, elevating him 
to dominion and monarchy : for though, as 
a helper in the temptation, Eve was laid below 
him, and so he had accidentally a superiority 
over her, for her greater punishment; yet he 
too had his share in the fall, as well as the sin, 
and was laid lower, as may be seen in the 
following verses ; and it would be hard to 
imagine, that God, in the same breath, should 
make him universal monarch over all mankind, 
and a day-labourer for his life ; turn him out 
of paradise to till the ground, ver. 23. and at 
the same time advance him to a throne, and 
all the privileges and ease of absolute power. 
§. 45. This was not a time, when Adam 
could expect any favours, any grant of privi- 
leges from his offended Maker. If this be 
the original grant of government, as our author 
tells us, and Adam was now made monarch, 
whatever Sir Robert would have him, it is 
plain, God made him but a very poor monarch, 
such an one, as our author himself would have 
counted it no great privilege to be. God sets 
him to work for his living, and seems rather to 
give him a spade into his hand, to subdue the 
earth, than a sceptre to rule over its inhabi- 
tants. In the sweat of thy face thou shall eat 
thy bread, says God to him, ver. 19. This was 



unavoidable, may it perhaps be answered, 
because he was yet without subjects, and had 
nobody to work for him ; but afterwards, living 
as he did above 900 years, he might have 
people enough, whom he might command to 
work for him ; no, says God, not only whilst 
thou art without other help, save thy wife, but 
as long thou livest, shalt thou live by thy 
labour, In the sweat of thy face, shalt thou eat 
thy bread, till thou return unto the ground, for 
out of it wast thou taken, for dust thou art, and 
unto dust shalt thou return, v. 19. It will 
perhaps be answered again in favour of our 
author, that these words are not spoken person- 
ally to Adam, but in him, as their representa- 
tive, to all mankind, this being a curse upon 
mankind, because of the fall. 

§. 46. God, I believe, speaks differently 
from men, because he speaks with more truth, 
more certainty : but when he vouchsafes to 
speak to men, I do not think he speaks 
differently from them, in crossing the rules of 
language in use amongst them : this would not 
be to condescend to their capacities, when he 
humbles himself to speak to them, but to lose 
his design in speaking what, thus spoken, 
they could not understand. And yet thus 
must we think of God, if the interpretations 
of scripture, necessary to maintain our author's 
doctrine, must be received for good : for by 
the ordinary rules of language, it will be very 
hard to understand what God says, if what he 


speaks here, in the singular number, to Adam, 
must be understood to be spoken to all man- 
kind, and what he says in the plural number, 
Gen. i. 26, and 28. must be understood of 
Adam alone, exclusive of all others, and what 
he says to Noah and his sons jointly, must 
be understood to be meant to Noah alone, 
Gen. ix. 

§. 47. Farther it is to be noted, that these 
words here of Gen. iii. 10. which our author 
calls the original grant of government, were not 
spoken to Adam, neither indeed was there any 
grant in them made to Adam, but a punishment 
laid upon Eve: and if we will take them as 
they were directed in particular to her, or in 
her, as their representative to all other women, 
they will at most concern the female sex only, 
and import no more, but that subjection they 
should ordinarily be in to their husband : but 
there is here no more law to oblige a woman 
to such subjection, if the circumstances either 
of her condition, or contract with her husbands, 
should exempt her from it, than there is, that 
she should bring forth her children in sorrow 
and pain, if there could be found a remedy for 
it, which is also a part of the same curse upon 
her : for the whole verse runs thus, Unto the 
woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy 
sorrow and thy conception ; in sorrow thou shalt 
bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to 
thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. It 
would, I think, have been a hard matter for 

e 2 


any body, but our author, to have found out a 
grant of monarchical government to Adam in 
these words, which were neither spoke to, nor 
of him : neither will any one, I suppose, by 
these words, think the weaker sex, as by a 
law, so subjected to the curse contained in 
them, that it is their duty not to endeavour to 
avoid it. And will any one say, that Ere, or 
any other woman, sinned, if she were brought 
to bed without those multiplied pains God 
threatens her here with ? or that either of our 
queens, Mary or Elisabeth, had they married 
any of their subjects, had been by this text, 
put into a political subjection to him ? or that 
he thereby should have had monarchical rule 
over her? God, in this text, gives not, that I 
see, any authority to Adam over Eve, or to 
men over their wives, but only foretels what 
should be the woman's lot, how by his provi- 
dence he would order it so, that she should 
be subject to her husband, as we see that 
generally the laws of mankind and customs of 
nations have ordered it so; and there is, I 
grant, a foundation in nature for it. 

§. 48. Thus when God says of Jacob and 
Esau, that the elder should serve the younger, 
Gen. xxv. 23. no body supposes that God 
hereby made Jacob Esaus sovereign, but fore- 
told what should de facto come to pass. 

But if these words here spoke to Eve must 
needs be understood as a law to bind her and 
all other women to subjection, it can be no 


other subjection than what every wife owes her 
husband : and then if this be the original grant 
of government and the foundation of monar- 
chical power, there will be as many inonarchs 
as there are husbands : if therefore these words 
give any power to Adam, it can be only a con- 
jugal power, not political ; the power that every 
husband hath to order the things of private con- 
cernment in his family, as proprietor of the goods 
and land there, and to have his will take place be- 
fore that of his wife in all things of their common 
concernment; but not a political power of life 
and death over her, much less over any body else. 
§. 49. This I am sure : if our author will 
have this text to be a grant, lite original grant 
of government, political government, he ought 
to have proved it by some better arguments 
than by barely saying, that thy desire shall be 
unto thy husband, was a law whereby Eve, and 
all that should come of her, were subjected to 
the absolute monarchical power of Adam and 
his keirs. Thy desire shall be to thy husband, 
is too doubtful an expression, of whose signi- 
fication interpreters are not agreed, to build so 
confidently on, and in a matter of such moment, 
and so great and general concernment: but 
our author, according to his way of writing, 
having once named the text, concludes pre- 
sently without any more ado, that the meaning 
is as he would have it. Let the words rule 
and subject be but found in the text or margent, 
and it immediately signifies the duty of a sub- 


ject to' his prince; the relation is changed, 
and though God says husband, Sir Robert will 
have it king; Adam has presently absolute 
monarchial power over Eve, and not only over 
Eve, but all that should come of her, though 
the scripture says not a word of it, nor our 
author a word to prove it. But Adam must 
for all that be an absolute monarch, and so 
down to the end of the chapter. And here I 
leave my reader to consider, whether my bare 
saying, without offering any reasons to evince 
it, that this text gave not Adam that absolute 
monarchial power, our author supposes, be not 
sufficient to destroy that power, as his bare 
assertion is to establish it, since the text men- 
tions neither prince nor people, speaks nothing 
of absolute or monarchial power, but the sub- 
jection of Eve to Adam, a wife to her husband. 
And he that would trace our author so all 
through, would make a short and sufficient 
answer to the greatest part of the grounds he 
proceeds on, and abundantly confute them by 
barely denying ; it being a sufficient answer to 
assertions without proof, to deny them without 
giving a reason. And therefore should I have 
said nothing but barely denied, that by this 
text the supreme power was settled and founded 
by God himself, in the fatherhood, limited to 
monarchy, and that to Adam's person and heirs, 
all which our author notably concludes from 
these words, as may be seen in the same page, 
Observations, 244. it had been a sufficient an- 


swer: should I have desired any sober man 
only to have read the text, and considered to 
whom, and on what occasion it was spoken, 
he would no doubt have wondered how our 
author found out monarchial absolute power in 
it, had he not had an exceeding good faculty 
to find it himself, where he could not shew it 
others. And thus we have examined the two 
places of scripture, all that I remember our 
author brings to prove Adams sovereignty, that 
supremacy, which he says, it was Gods ordi- 
nance should be unlimited in Adam, and as 
large as all the acts of his will, Observations, 
254. viz. Gen. i. 28. and Gen. hi. 16. one where- 
of signifies only the subjection of the inferior 
ranks of creatures to mankind, and the other 
the subjection that is due from a wife to her 
husband, both far enough from that which 
subjects owe the governors of political societies. 


Of Adam's Title to Sovereignty by Fatherhood. 

§. 50. There is one thing more, and then I 
think I have given you all that our author 
brings for proof of Adam's sovereignty, and 
that is a supposition of a natural right of domi- 
nion over his children, by being their father : 
and this title of fatherhood he is so pleased 
with, that you will find it brought in almost 
in every page; particularly he says, not only 


Adam, but the succeeding patriarchs had by 
right of fatherhood royal authority over their 
children, p. 12. And in the same page, this 
subjection of children being the fountain of all 
regal authority, &c. This being, as one would 
think by his so frequent mentioning it, the 
main basis of all his frame, we may well ex- 
pect clear and evident reason for it, since he 
lays it down as a position necessary to his 
purpose, that every man that is born is so far 
from being free, that by his very birth he becomes 
a subject of him that begets him, Observations, 
156. so that Adam being the only man created, 
and all ever since being begotten, no body has 
been born free. If we ask how Adam comes 
by this power over his children, he tells us 
here it is by begetting them : and so again, Ob- 
servations, 223. this natural dominion of Adam, 
says he, may be proved out of Grotius, himself, 
who teacheth, that generatione jus acquiritur 
parentibus in liberos. And indeed the act of 
begetting being that which makes a man a 
father, his right of a father over his children 
can naturally arise from nothing else. 

§. 51. Grotius tells us not here how far this 
jus in liberos, this power of parents over their 
children extends; but our author, always very 
clear in the point, assures us, it is supreme powet\ 
and like that of absolute monarchs over their 
slaves, absolute power of life and death. He 
that should demand of him, how, or for what 
reason it is, that begetting a child gives the 


father such an absolute power over him, will 
find him answer nothing : we are to take his 
word for this, as well as several other things; 
and by that the laws of nature and the consti- 
tutions of government must stand or fall. Had 
he been an absolute monarch, this way of talk- 
ing might have suited well enough ; pro ratione 
voluntas might have been of force in his mouth ; 
but in the way of proof or argument is very 
unbecoming, and will little advantage his plea 
for absolute monarchy. Sir Robert has too 
much lessened a subject's authority to leave 
himself the hopes of establishing any thing by 
bis bare saying it; one slave's opinion without 
proof is not of weight enough to dispose of 
the liberty and fortunes of all mankind. If all 
men are not, as I think they are, naturally 
equal, I am sure all slaves are; and then I 
may without presumption oppose my single 
opinion to his ; and be confident that my say- 
ing, that begetting of children makes them not 
slaves to their fathers, as certainly sets all man- 
kind free, as his affirming the contrary makes 
them all slaves. But that this position, which 
is the foundation of all their doctrine, who 
would have monarchy to be jure divino, may 
have all fair play, let us hear what reasons 
others give for it, since our author offers none. 

§. 52. The argument, I have heard others 
make use of, to prove that fathers, by begetting 
them, come by an absolute power over their 
children, is this; that fathers have a power over 


the lives of their children, because they give 
them life and being; which is the only proof it 
is capable of: since there can be no reason, 
why naturally one man should have any claim 
or pretence of right over that in another, which 
was never his, which he bestowed not, but was 
received from the bounty of another. 1. I an- 
swer, that every one who gives another any 
thing, has not always thereby a right to take it 
away again. But, 2. They who say the father 
gives life to his children, are so dazzled with 
the thoughts of monarchy, that they do not, 
as they ought, remember God, who is the au- 
thor and giver of life : it is in him alone ive 
lire, more, and hare our being. How can he 
be thought to give life to another, that knows 
not wherein his own life consists? Philoso- 
phers are at a loss about it after their most 
diligent enquiries ; and anatomists, after their 
whole lives and studies spent in dissections, 
and diligent examining the bodies of men, con- 
fess their ignorance in the structure and use 
of many parts of man's body, and in that 
operation wherein life consists in the whole. 
And doth the rude plough-man, or the more 
ignorant voluptuary, frame or fashion such an 
admirable engine as this is, and then put life 
and sense into it? Can any man say, he formed 
the parts that are necessary to the life of his 
child ? or can he suppose himself to give the 
life, and yet not know what subject is fit to 
receive it, nor what actions or organs are 
necessary for its reception or preservation ? 


§; o3. To give life to that Which has yet no 
being, is to frame and make a living- creature, 
fashion the parts, and mould and suit them to 
their uses, and having proportioned and titted 
them together, to put into them a living soul. 
He that could do this, might indeed have 
some pretence to destroy his own workman- 
ship. But is there any one so bold, that dares 
thus far arrogate to himself, the incomprehen- 
sible works of the Almighty? Who alone did 
at first, and continues still to make a living 
soul, he alone can breathe in the breath of life. 
If any one thinks himself an artist at this, let 
him number up the parts of his child's body 
which he hath made, tell me their uses and 
operations, and when the living and rational 
soul began to inhabit this curious structure, 
when sense began, and how this engine, which 
he has framed, thinks and reasons: if he made 
it, let him, when it is out of order, mend it, at 
least tell wherein the defects lie. Shall he that 
made the eye not see ? says the Psalmist, Psalm 
xciv. 9. See these men's vanities : the struc- 
ture of that one part is sufficient to convince 
us of an all-wise contriver, and he has so visi- 
ble a claim to us as his workmanship, that 
one of the ordinary appellations of God in 
scripture is, God our Maker, and the Lord our 
Maker. And therefore though our author, for 
the magnifying his fatherhood, be pleased to 
say, Observations, 159. That even the power 
which God himself exercisclh over mankind is 


by right of fatherhood, yet this fatherhood is 
such an one as utterly excludes all pretence of 
title in earthly parents ; for he is king, because 
he is indeed maker of us all, which no parents 
can pretend to be of their children. 

§. 54. But had men skill and power to make 
their children, it is not so slight a piece of 
workmanship, that it can be imagined, they 
could make them without designing it. What 
father of a thousand, when he begets a child, 
thinks farther than the satisfying his present 
appetite! God in his infinite wisdom has put 
strong desires of copulation into the consti- 
tution of men, thereby to continue the race of 
mankind, which he doth most commonly with- 
out the intention, and often against the consent 
and will of the begetter. And indeed those 
who desire and design children, are but the 
occasions of their being, and when they design 
and wish to beget them, do little more towards 
their making, than Deucalion and his wife in 
the fable did towards the making of mankind, 
by throwing pebbles over their heads. 

§. 55. But grant that the parents made their 
children, gave them life and being, and that 
hence there followed an absolute power. This 
would give the father but a joint dominion 
with the mother over them : for nobody can 
deny but that the woman hath an equal share, 
if not the greater, as nourishing the child a 
long time in her own body out of her own 
substance ; there it is fashioned, and from her 


it receives the materials and principles of its 
constitution : and it is so hard to imagine the 
rational soul should presently inhabit the yet 
unformed embrio, as soon as the father has 
done his part in the act of generation, that if 
it must be supposed to derive any thing from 
the parents, it must certainly owe most to the 
mother. But be that as it will, the mother 
cannot be denied an equal share in begetting 
of the child, and so the absolute authority of 
of the father will not arise from hence. Our 
author indeed is of another mind ; for he says, 
We know that God at the creation gave the 
sovereignty to the man over the woman, as being 
the nobler and principal agent in generation, 
Observations, 172. I remember not this in 
my Bible; and when the place is brought 
where God at the creation gave the sovereignty 
to man over the woman, and that for this 
reason, because he is the nobler and principal 
agent in generation, it will be time enough to 
consider, and answer it. But it is no new 
thing for our author to tell us his own fancies 
for certain and divine truths, though there be 
often a great deal of difference between his 
and divine revelations ; for God in scripture 
says, his father and his mother that begot him. 
§. 56. They who alledge the practice of 
mankind, for exposing or selling their children, 
as a proof of their power over them, are with 
Sir Robert happy arguers ; and cannot but 
recommend their opinion, by founding it on 


Ihe most shameful action, and most unnatural 
murder, human nature is capable of. The 
dens of lions and nurseries of wolves know no 
such cruelty as this : these savage inhabitants 
of the desalt obey God and nature in being- 
tender and careful of their offspring: they will 
hunt, watch, fight, and almost starve for the 
preservation of their young ; never part with 
them; never forsake them, till they are able 
to shift for themselves. And is it the privilege 
of man alone to act more contrary to nature 
than the wild and most untamed part of the 
creation? Doth God forbid us under the se- 
verest penalty, that of death, to take away the 
life of any man, a stranger, and upon provoca- 
tion ? and does he permit us to destroy those, 
he has given us the charge of; and by the 
dictates of nature and reason, as well as his 
revealed command, requires us to preserve? 
He has in all the parts of the creation taken a 
peculiar care to propagate and continue the 
several species of creatures, and make the in- 
dividuals act so strongly to this end, that they 
sometimes neglect their own private good for 
it, and seem to forget that general rule, which 
nature teaches all things, of self-preservation; 
and the preservation of their young, as the 
strongest principle in them, over-rules the con- 
stitution of their particular natures. Thus we 
see, when their young stand in need of it, the 
timorous become valiant, the fierce and savage 
kind, and the ravenous tender and liberal. 


&. .57. But if the example of what bath been 
done, be the rule of what ought to be, history 
would have furnished our author with instances 
of this absolute fatherly power in its height and 
perfection, and he might have shewed us in 
Peru, people that begot children on purpose 
to fatten and eat them. The story is so 
remarkable that I cannot but set it down in the 
author's words. " In some provinces, says he, 
" they were so liquorish after man's flesh, that 
" they would not have the patience to stay 
" till the breath was out of the body, but 
" would suck the blood as it ran from the 
" wounds of the dying man ; they had public 
" shambles of man's flesh, and their madness 
" herein was to that degree, that they spared 
" not their own children, which they had begot 
" on strangers taken in war: for they made 
" their captives their mistresses, and choicely 
" nourished the children they had by them, till 
" about thirteen years old they butchered and 
" eat them; and they served the mothers after 
" the same fashion, when they grew past child- 
" bearing, and ceased to bring them any more 
" roasters." Garci lasso de la vega Hist, ties 
Yucas de Peru, 1. i. c. 12. 

§. 58. Thus far can the busy mind of man 
carry him to a brutality below the level of 
beasts, when he quits his reason, which places 
him almost equal to angels. Nor can it be 
otherwise in a creature, whose thoughts are 
more than the sands, and wider than the ocean, 


-where fancy and passion must needs run him 
into strange courses, if reason, which is his 
only star and compass be not that he steers 
by. The imagination is always restless, and 
suggests variety of thoughts, and the will, 
reason being laid aside, is ready for every extra- 
vagant project ; and in this state, he that goes 
farthest out of the way, is thought fittest to 
lead, and is sure of most followers: and when 
fashion hath once established what folly or 
craft began, custom makes it sacred, and if 
will be thought impudence, or madness, to con- 
tradict or question it. He that will imparti- 
ally survey the nations of the world, will find 
so much of their religions, governments and 
manners, brought in and continued amongst 
them by these means, that he will have but 
little reverence for the practices which are in 
use and credit amongst men ; and will have 
reason to think, that the woods and forests, 
where the irrational untaught inhabitants keep 
right by following nature, are fitter to give us 
rules, than cities and palaces, where those that 
call themselves civil and rational, go out of 
their way, by the authority of example. If 
precedents are sufficient to establish a rule in 
this case, our author might have found in holy 
writ children sacrificed by their parents, and 
this amongst the people of God themselves: 
the Psalmist tells us, Psal. cvi. 38. They shed 
innocent blood, even the blood of their sons and 
of their daughters, whom they sacrificed unto 


the idols of Canaan. But God judged not of 
this by our author's rule, nor allowed of the 
authority of practice against his righteous law ; 
but as it follows there, the land teas polluted 
with blood; therefore teas the wrath of the 
Lord kindled against his people, insomuch that 
he abhorred his own inheritance. The killing 
of their children, though it were fashionable, 
was charged on them as innocent blood, and 
so had in the account of God the guilt of 
murder, as the offering them to idols had the 
guilt of idolatry. 

§. 59. Be it then, as Sir Robert says, that 
anciently it was usual for men to sell and cas- 
trate their children, Observations, 155. Let it 
be, that they exposed them ; add to it, if you 
please, for this is still greater power, that they 
begat them for their tables, to fat and eat 
them : if this proves a right to do so, we may, 
by the same argument, justify adultery, incest 
and sodomy, for there are examples of these 
too, both ancient and modern ; sins, which I 
suppose have their principal aggravation from 
this, that they cross the main intention of 
nature, which willeth the increase of mankind, 
and the continuation of the species in the high- 
est perfection, and the distinction of families, 
with the security of the marriage-bed, as 
necessary thereunto. 

§. 60. In confirmation of this natural autho- 
rity of the father, our author brings a lame 
proof from the positive command of God in 


scripture: his words are, To confirm the natural 
right of regal power, ice find in the Decalogue, 
that the law which enjoins obedience to kings, is 
delivered in the terms, Honour thy father, p. 
23. Whereas many confess, that government 
only in the abstract, is the ordinance of God, 
they are not able to prove any such ordinance in 
the scripture, but only in the fatherly power; 
and therefore we find the commandment, thai 
enjoins obedience to superiors, given in the terms, 
Honour thy father; so that not only the power 
and right of government, but the form of the 
power governing, and the person having the 
power, are all the ordinances of God. The 
first father had not only simply power, but 
power monarchical, as he was father immediately 
from God, Observations, 254. To the same 
purpose, the same law is cited by our author 
in several other places, and just after the same 
fashion; that is, and mother, as apochrvphal 
words, are always left out ; a great argument 
of our authors ingenuity, and the goodness of 
his cause, which required in its defender zeal 
to a degree of warmth, able to warp the sacred 
rule of the word of God, to make it comply 
with his present occasion ; a way of proceeding 
not unusual to those, who embrace not truths, 
because reason and revelation offer them, but 
espouse tenets and parties for ends different 
from truth, and then resolve at any rate to 
defend them ; and so do with the words and 
sense of authors, they would fit to their purpose, 


just as Procrustes did with his guests, lop or 
stretch them, as may best fit them to the 
size of their notions : and they always prove 
like those so served, deformed, lame, and 

§. 61. For had our author set down this com- 
mand without garbling, as God gave it, and 
joined mother to father, every reader would 
have seen, that it had made directly against 
him ; and that it was so far from establishing 
the monarchical power of the father, that it set 
up the mother equal with him, and enjoined 
nothing but what was due in common, to both 
father and mother : for that is the constant tenor ' 
of the scripture, Honour thy father and thy 
mother, Exod. xx. He that smiteth his father 
or mother, shall surely he put to death, xxi. 15. 
He that curs el h his father or mother, shall 
surely be put to death, ver. 17. Repeated, Lev. 
xx. 9. and by our Saviour, Matth. xv. 4. Ye 
shall fear every man his mother and his father, 
Lev. xix. 3. If a man have a rebellious son, 
which will not obey the voice of his father, or the 
voice of his mother ; then shall his father and 
his mother lay hold on him, and say, This our 
son is stubborn and rebellious, he ivill not obey 
our voice, Deut. xxi. 18, 19, 20, 21. Cursed be 
he that setteth light by his father or his mother, 
xxviii. 16*. My son, hear the instructions of 
thy father, and forsake not the law of thy 
mother, are the words of Solomon, a king who 
was not ignorant of what belonged to him as 



a father or a king; and yet he joins father and 
mother together, in all the instruction he gives 
children quite through his book of Proverbs. 
Woe unto him, that sayeth unto his father. 
What beget test thou? or to the woman, What 
hast thou brought forth? Isa. xi. ver. 10. In 
thee hare they set light by father or mother, 
Ezek. xxviii. *2. And it shall come to jrnss, that 
when any shall yet prophesy, then his father 
and his mother that begat him, shall say unto 
him, thou shall not live ; and his father and 
his mother that begat him, shall thrust him 
through when he prophesieth, Zech. xiii. 3. 
Here not the father only, but the father and 
mother jointly, had power in this case of life 
and death. Thus ran the law of the Old Tes- 
tament, and in the New they are likewise joined, 
in the obedience of their children, Eph. vi. J. 
The rule is, Children, obey your parents ; and I do 
not remember, that I any where read, Children, 
obey your father, and no more : the scripture 
joins mother too in that homage, which is due 
from children ; and had there been any text, 
where the honour or obedience of children had 
been directed to the father alone, it is not 
likely that our author, who pretends to build 
all upon scripture, would have omitted it : 
nay, the scripture makes the authority of father 
and mother, in respect of those they have 
begot, so equal, that in some places it neglects 
even the priority of order, which is thought 
due to the father, and the mother is put first, 


as Lev. xix. 3. from which so constantly 
joining father and mother together, as is found 
quite through the scripture, we may conclude 
that the honour they have a title to from their 
children, is one common right belonging so 
equally to them both, that neither can claim it 
wholly, neither can be excluded. 

§. 62. One would wonder then how our au- 
thor infers from the fifth commandment, that 
all power ivas originally in the father ; how he 
finds monarchical power of government settled 
and fixed by the commandment, Honour thy 
father and thy mother. If all the honour due 
by the commandment, be it what it will, be 
the only right of the father because he, as our 
author says, has the sovereignty over the woman, 
as being the nobler and principaler agent in 
generation, why did God afterwards all along 
join the mother with him, to share in his honour? 
can the father, by this sovereignty of his, dis- 
charge the child from paying this honour to 
his mother ? The scripture gave no such licence 
to the Jews, and yet there were often breaches 
wide enough betwixt husband and wife, even to 
divorce and separation : and, I think, nobody 
will say a child may with-hold honour from 
his mother, or, as the scripture terms it, set 
light by her, though his father should com- 
mand him to do so; no more than the mother 
could dispense with him for neglecting to 
honour his father: whereby it is plain, that 
this command of God gives the father no sove- 
reignty, no supremacy. 


§. 63. 1 agree with our author that the title 
to this honour is vested in the parents by na- 
ture, and is a right which accrues to them by 
their having begotten their children, and God 
by many positive declarations has confirmed 
it to them : I also allow our authors rule, 
that in grants and gifts, that have their original 
from God and nature, as the power of the 
father, (let me add and mother, for whom God 
hath joined together, let no man put asunder) 
no inferior power of men can limit, nor make 
any law of prescription against them, Obser- 
vations, 158. So that the mother having, by 
this law of God, a right to honour from her 
children, which is not subject to the will of 
her husband, we see this absolute monarchical 
power of the father can neither be founded on 
it, nor consist with it; and he has a power 
very far from monarchical, very far from that 
absoluteness our author contends ; when ano- 
ther has over his subjects the same power he 
hath, and by the same title : and therefore he 
cannot forbear saying himself that he cannot 
see how any mans children can be free from 
subjection to their parents, p. 12. which, in 
common speech, I think, signifies mother as 
well as father; or if parents here signifies only 
father, it is the first time I ever yet knew it 
to do so, and by such an use of words one may 
say any thing. 

§. 64. By our author's doctrine, the father, 
having absolute jurisdiction over his children, 


has also Hie same over their issue; and the 
consequence is good, were it true, that the 
father had such a power : and yet I ask our 
author whether the grandfather, by his sove- 
reignty, could discharge the grandchild from 
paying to his father the honour due to him 
by the fifth commandment. If the grandfather 
hath, by right of fatherhood, sole sovereign 
power in him, and that obedience which is due 
to the supreme magistrate, be commanded in 
these words, Honour thy father, it is certain 
the grandfather might dispense with the grand- 
son's honouring his father, which since it is 
evident in common sense he cannot, it follows 
from hence, that Honour thy father and mother, 
cannot mean an absolute subjection to a sove- 
reign power, but something else. The right 
therefore which parents have by nature, and 
which is confirmed to them by the fifth com- 
mandment, cannot be that political dominion 
which our author would derive from it: for 
that being in every civil society supreme some- 
where, can discharge any subject from any 
political obedience to any one of his fellow- 
subjects. But what law of the magistrate can 
i^ive a child liberty, not to honour his father 
and mother? It is an eternal law, annexed 
purely to the ralation of parents and children, 
and so contains nothing of the magistrate's 
power in it, nor is subjected to it. 

§. 05. Our author says, God hath given, to a 
father a right or liberty to alien his power over 


his children to any other, Observations, 155. 
1 doubt whether he can alien wholly the right 
of honour that is due from them: but be that 
as it will, this 1 am sure, lie cannot alien, and 
retain the same power. If therefore the ma- 
gistrate's sovereignty be, as our author would 
have it, nothing but the authority of a su- 
preme father, p. 23. it is unavoidable, that if 
the magistrate hath all this paternal right, as 
he must have if fatherhood be the fountain of 
all authority ; then the subjects, though fathers, 
can have no power over their children, no right 
to honour from them : for it cannot be all in 
another's hands, and a part remain with the 
parents. So that, according to our author's 
own doctrine, Honour thy father and mother 
cannot possibly be understood of political 
subjection and obedience ; since the laws both 
in the Old and New Testament, that com- 
manded children to honour and obey their 
parents, were given to such, whose fathers 
were under civil government, and fellow-sub- 
jects with them in political societies ; and to 
have bid them honour and obey their parents, 
in our authors sense, had been to bid them be 
subjects to those who had no title to it ; the 
right to obedience from subjects, being all 
vested in another ; and instead of teaching- 
obedience, this had been to foment sedition, 
by setting up powers that were not. If there- 
fore this command, Honour thy father and 
mother, concern political dominion, it directly 


overthrows our author's monarchy ; since it 
being- to be paid by every child to his father, 
even in society, every father must necessarily 
have political dominion, and there will be as 
many sovereigns as there are fathers : besides 
that the mother too hath her title, which de- 
stroys the sovereignty of one supreme monarch. 
But if Honour thy father and mother mean 
something distinct from political power, as 
necessarily it must, it is besides our author's 
business, and serves nothing to his purpose. 

§. 66. Hie law that enjoins obedience to kings 
is delivered, says our author, in the terms, 
Honour thy father, as if all power were ori- 
ginally in the father, Observations, 254. and 
that law is also delivered, say I, in the terms, 
Honour thy mother, as if all power were ori- 
ginally in the mother. I appeal whether the 
argument be not as good on one side as the 
other, father and mother being joined all along 
in the Old and New Testament wherever ho- 
nour or obedience is enjoined children. Again 
our author tells us, Observations, 254. that this 
command, Honour thy father gives the right, to 
govern, and makes the form of government mo- 
narchical. ■ To which I answer, that if by 
Honour thy father be meant obedience to the 
political power of the magistrate, it concerns 
not any duty we owe to our natural fathers, 
who are subjects ; because they, by our author's 
doctrine, are divested of all that power, it 
being placed wholly in the prince, and so being 


equally subjects and slaves with their children, 
can have no right, by that title, to any such 
honour or obedience, as contains in it political 
subjection : if Honour thy father and mother 
signifies the duty we owe our natural parents, 
as by our Saviour's interpretation, Matlli. xv. 
4. and all the other mentioned places, it is 
plain it does, then it cannot concern political 
obedience, but a duty that is owing to persons, 
who have no title to sovereignty, nor any 
political authority as magistrates over subjects. 
For the person of a private father, and a title 
to obedience, due to the supreme magistrate, 
are things inconsistent ; and therefore this 
command, which must necessarily comprehend 
the persons of our natural fathers, must mean a 
duty we owe them distinct from our obedience 
to the magistrate, and from which the most 
absolute power of princes cannot absolve us. 
What this duty is, we shall in its due place 

§. 67. And thus we have at last got through 
all, that in our author looks like an argument for 
that absolute unlimited sovereignty described, 
Sect. 8. which he supposes in Adam; so that 
mankind ever since have been all born slaves, 
without any title to freedom. But if creation, 
which gave nothing but a being, made not 
Adam prince of his posterity : if Adam, Gen. i. 
28. was not constituted lord of mankind, nor 
had a private dominion given him exclusive of 
his children, but only a right and power over 


the earth, and inferior creatures in common 
with the children of men ; if also Gen. iii. 16. 
God gave not any political power to Adam 
over his wife and children, but only subjected 
Eve to Adam, as a punishment, or foretold the 
subjection of the weaker sex, in the ordering 
the common concernments of their families, 
but gave not thereby to Adam, as to the hus- 
band, power of life and death, which necessarily 
belongs to the magistrate: if fathers by be- 
getting their children acquire no such power 
over them ; and if the command, Honour thy 
father and mother, give it not, but only enjoins 
a duty owing to parents equally, whether 
subjects or not, and to the mother as well as 
the father; if all this be so, as I think, by what 
has been said, is very evident; then man has a 
natural freedom, notwithstanding all our author 
confidently says to the contrary ; since all that 
share in the same common nature, faculties 
and powers, are in nature equal, and ought to 
partake in the same common rights and privi- 
leges, till the manifest appointment of God, 
who is Lord over all, blessed for ever, can be 
produced to shew any particular person's 
supremacy ; or a man's own consent subjects 
him to a superior. This is so plain, that our 
author confesses, that Sir John Hayivard, 
Blackwood and Barclay, the great vindicators 
of the right of kings, could not deny it, but 
admit ivith one consent the natural liberty and 
equality of mankind, for a truth unquestionable. 


And our author hath been so far from produ- 
cing any tiling*, that may make good his great 
position that Adam was absolute monarch, and 
so men are not naturally free, that even his own 
proofs make against him ; so that to use his 
own way of arguing, the Jirst erroneous prin- 
ciple failing, the whole fabric of this vast engine 
of absolute power and tyranny drops down of 
itself and there needs no more to be said in 
answer to all that he builds upon so false and 
frail a foundation. 

§. 68. But to save others the pains, were 
there any need, he is not sparing himself to 
shew, by his own contradictions, the weak- 
ness of his own doctrine. Adams absolute 
and sole dominion is that, which he is every 
where full of, and all along builds on, and yet 
he tells us, p. 12. that as Adam was lord of 
his children, so his children under him had a 
command and power over their own children. 
The unlimited and undivided sovereignty of 
Adams fatherhood, by our author's computa- 
tion, stood but a little while, only during the 
first generation, but as soon as he had grand- 
children, Sir Robert could give but a very ill 
account of it. Adam, asjather of his children, 
saith he, hath an absolute, unlimited royal 
power over them, and by virtue thereof over 
those that they begot, and so to all generations ; 
and yet his children, viz. Cain and Seth, have 
a paternal power over their children at the 
same lime; so that Ihey are at the same time 


absolute lords, and yet vassals and slares; 
Adam has all the authority, as grandfather of 
the people, and they have a part of it as fathers 
of a part of them : lie is absolute over them 
and their posterity, by having- begotten them, 
and yet they are absolute over their own chil- 
dren by the same title. No, says our author, 
Adams children under him had power over their 
own children, but still with subordination to the 
first parent. A good distinction that sounds 
well, and it is pity it signifies nothing, nor can 
be reconciled with our author's words. I 
readily grant, that supposing Adams absolute 
power over his posterity, any of his children 
might have from him a delegated, and so a 
subordinate power over a part, or all the rest : 
but that cannot be the power our author speaks 
of here; it is not a power by grant and com- 
mission, but the natural paternal power he 
supposes a father to have over his children. 
For 1. he says, As Adam ivas lord of his chil- 
dren, so his children under him had a power over 
their own children: they were then lords over 
their own children after the same manner, and 
by the same title, that Adam was, i. e. by right 
of generation, by right of fatherhood. 2. It is 
plain he means the natural power of fathers, 
because he limits it to be only over their own 
children ; a delegated power has no such limi- 
tation, as only over their own children, it might 
be over others, as well as their own children. 
3. If it were a delegated power, it must ap- 


pear in scripture; but there is no ground in 
scripture to affirm, that Adams children had 
any other power over theirs, than what they 
naturally had as fathers. 

§. 69. But that he means here paternal power 
and no other, is past doubt, from the inference 
he makes in these words immediately following, 
I see not then hoiv the children of Adam, or of 
any man else, can be free from subjection to their 
'parents. Whereby it appears that the power on 
one side, and the subjection on the other, our 
author here speaks of, is that natural power \ 
and subjection between parents and children: 
for that which every man's children owed, 
could be no other; and that our author always 
affirms to be absolute and unlimited. This 
natural power of parents over their children, 
Adam had over his posterity, says our author; 
and thispower of parents over their children, his 
children had over theirs in his life-time, says 
our author also; so that Adam, by a natural 
right of father, had an absolute unlimited 
power over all his posterity, and at the same 
time his children had by the same right abso- 
lute unlimited power over theirs. Here then 
are two absolute unlimited powers existing to- 
gether, which I would have any body reconcile 
one to another, or to common sense. For the 
salvo he has put in of subordination, makes it 
more absurd : To have one absolute, unlimited, 
nay, unit mil able power, in subordination to 
another, is so manifest a contradiction, that 


nothing can be more. Adam is absolute prince 
ivith the unlimited authority of fatherhood over 
all his posterity; all his posterity are then 
absolutely his subjects; and, as our author 
says, his slaves, children, and grandchildren, 
are equally in this state of subjection and 
slavery ; and yet, says our anthor, the chil- 
dren of Adam have paternal, i. c. absolute un- 
limited power over their own children : which 
in plain English is, they are slaves and abso- 
lute princes at the same time, and in the same 
government ; and one part of the subjects have 
an absolute unlimited power over the other by 
the natural right of parentage. 

<§. 70. If any one will suppose, in favour of 
our author, that he here meant, that parents, 
who are in subjection themselves to the abso- 
lute authority of their father, have yet some 
power over their children; I confess he is 
something nearer the truth : but he will not at 
all hereby help our author: for he no where 
speaking of the paternal power, but as an 
absolute unlimited authority, cannot be sup- 
posed to understand any thing else here, unless 
he himself had limited it, and shewed how 
far it reached. And that he means here pater- 
nal authority in that large extent, is plain from 
the immediately following words ; This sub- 
jection of children being, says he, the founda- 
tion of all regal authority, p. J 2. the subjection 
then that in the former line, he says, every man is 
in to his parents, and consequently what Adam's 


grand-children were in to their parents, was 
that which was the fountain of all regal au- 
thority, i. e. according to our author, absolute 
unlimited authority. And thus Adams chil- 
dren had regal authority over their children, 
whilst they themselves were subjects to their 
father, and fellow-subjects with their children. 
But let him mean as he pleases, it is plain he 
allows Adam 's children to have paternal power y 
p. 12. as also all other fathers to have paternal 
power over their children, Observations, 156. 
From whence one of these two things will 
necessarily follow, that either Adam's children, 
even in his life-time, had, and so all fathers 
have, as he phrases it, p. 12. by right of father- 
hood, royal authority over their children, or 
else, that Adam, by right of fatherhood, had 
not royal authority. For it cannot be but that 
paternal power does, or does not, give royal 
authority to them that have it : if it does not, 
then Adam could not be sovereign by this title, 
nor any body else ; and then there is an end 
of all our author's politics at once : if it does 
give royal authority, then every one that has pa- 
ternal power, has royal authority ; and then by 
our authors patriarchal government, there will 
be as many kings as there are fathers. 

§.71. And thus what a monarchy he hath 
set up, let him and his disciples consider. 
Princes certainly will have great reason to 
thank him for these new politics, which set up 
as many absolute kings in every country as 


there are fathers of children. And yet who 
can blame our author for it, it lying unavoid- 
ably in the way of one discoursing upon our 
author's principles ? For having placed an ab- 
solute power in fathers by right of begetting, 
he could not easily resolve how much of this 
power belonged to a son over the children he 
had begotten ; and so it fell out to be a hard 
matter to give all the power, as he does, to 
Adam, and yet allow a part in his life-time 
to his children, when they were parents, and 
which he knew not well how to deny them. 
This makes him so doubtful in his expressions, 
and so uncertain where to place this absolute 
natural power, which he calls fatherhood. 
Sometimes Adam alone has it all, as p. 13. 
Observations, 244, 245. 6f Pre/. 

Sometimes parents have it, which word scarce 
signifies the father alone, p. 12, 19. 

Sometimes children during their fathers life- 
time, as p. 12. 

Sometimes fathers of families, as p. 78, &79. 

Sometimes fathers indefinitely, Observations, 

Sometimes the heir to Adam, Observations, 

Sometimes the posterity o/*Adam, 244, 246. 

Sometimes prime fathers, all sons or grand- 
children o/'Noah, Observations, 244. 

Sometimes the eldest parents, p. 12, 

Sometimes all kings, p. 19. 



Sometimes all that have supreme power, Ob- 
servations, 245. 

Sometimes heirs to those first progenitors, 
who were at first the natural parents of the 
whole people, p. 19. 

Sometimes an elective king, p. 23. 

Sometimes those, whether a few or a multi- 
titude, that govern the commonwealth, p. 23. 

Sometimes he that can catch it, an usurper, 
p. 23. Observations, 155. 

§. 72. Thus this neiv nothing, that is to carry 
with it all power, authority, and government; 
this fatherhood, which is to design the person, 
and establish the throne of monarch's, whom 
the people are to obey, may, according to Sir 
Robert, come into any hands, any how, and so 
by his politics give to democracy royal autho- 
rity, and make an usurper a lawful prince. 
And if it will do all these fine feats, much 
good do our author and all his followers with 
their omnipotent fatherhood, which can serve 
for nothing but to unsettle and destroy all the 
lawful governments in the world, and to es- 
tablish in their room disorder, tyranny, and 



Of Fatherhood and Property considered 
together as Fountains of Sovereignty. 

§. 73. In the foregoing chapters we have 
seen what Adam's monarchy was, in our au- 
thor's opinion, and upon what titles he founded 
it. The foundations which he lays the chief 
stress on, as those from which he thinks he 
may derive monarchical power to future princes, 
are two, viz. Fatherhood and property: and 
therefore the way he proposes to remove the ab- 
surdities and inconveniencies of the doctrine of 
natural freedom^ is, to maintain the natural and 
private dominion of Adam, Observations, 222. 
Conformable hereunto, he tells us, the grounds 
and jjrinciplcs of government necessarily depend 
upon the original of property. Observations, 
108. The subjection of children to their pa- 
rents is the fountain of all regal authority, p. 12. 
And all power on earth is either derived or 
usurped from the fatherly poiver, their being no 
other original to be found of any power what- 
soever, Observations, 158. I will not stand 
here to examine how it can be said without a 
contradiction, that the first grounds and princi- 
ples of government necessarily depend upon the 
original of property, and yet, that there is no other 
original of any power whatsoever, but that of 
the father ; it being hard to understand how 

g 2 


there can be no other original but fatherhood, 
and yet that the grounds and principles of go- 
vernment depend upon the original of property ; 
property and fatherhood being- as far different 
as lord of a manor and father of children. 
Nor do I see how they will either of them 
agree with what our author says, Observations* 
244. of God's sentence against Eve, Gen. iii. 16. 
That it is the original grant of government : 
so that if that were the original, government 
had not its original, by our authors own con- 
fession, cither from property or fatherhood : 
and this text, which he brings as a proof of 
Adam's power over Eve, necessarily contradicts 
what he says of the fatherhood, that it is the 
sole fountain of all poiuer : for if Adam had 
any such regal power over Eve, as our author 
contends for, it must be by some other title 
than that of begetting. 

§. 74. But I leave him to reconcile these 
contradictions, as well as many others, which 
may plentifully be found in him by any one, 
who will but read him with a little attention ; 
and shall come now to consider, how these 
two originals of government, Adams natural 
and private dominion, will consist, and serve 
to make out and establish the titles of suc- 
ceeding monarchs, who, as our author obliges 
them, must all derive their power from these 
fountains. Let us then suppose Adam made, 
by God's donation, lord and sole proprietor of 
the whole earth, in as large and ample a manner 


as Sir ^Robert could wish; let us suppose him 
also, by right of fatherhood, absolute ruler over 
his children with au unlimited supremacy; I 
ask then, upon Adams death what becomes 
of both his natural and private dominion? and 
I doubt not it will be answered, that they 
descended to his next heir, as our author tells 
us in several places. But this way, it is plain, 
cannot possibly convey both his natural and 
private dominion to the same person : for should 
we allow, that all the property, all the estate 
of the father, ought to descend to the eldest 
son, (which will need some proof to establish 
it) and so he has by that title all the private do- 
minion of the father, yet the father's natural 
dominion, the paternal power cannot descend 
to him by inheritance : for it being a right that 
accrues to a man ouly by begetting, no man 
can have this natural dominion over any one 
he does not beget; unless it can be supposed, 
that a man can have a right to any thing, with- 
out doing that upon which that right is solely 
founded : for if a father by begetting, and no 
other title, has natural dominion over his chil- 
dren, he that does not beget them cannot have 
this natural dominion over them ; and therefore 
be it true or false, that our author says, Obser- 
vations, 1 5t>. That every man that is born, by 
his very birth becomes subject to him that begets 
him, this necessarily follows, viz. That a man 
by his birth cannot become a subject to his 
brother, who did not beget him ; unless it can 


be supposed that a man by the very same title 
can come to be under the natural and absolute 
dominion of two different men at once ; or it 
be sense to say, that a man by birth is under 
the natural dominion of his father, only be- 
cause he begat him, and a man by birth also 
is under the natural dominion of his eldest 
brother, though he did not beget him. 

§. 75. If then the private dominion of Adam, 
i. e. his property in the creatures, descended 
at his death all entirely to his eldest son, his 
heir ; (for, if it did not, there is presently an 
end of all Sir Robert's monarchy) and his 
natural dominion, the dominion a father has 
over his children by begetting them, belonged 
immediately, upon Adams decease, equally to 
all his sons who had children, by the same 
title their father had it, the sovereignty founded 
upon property, and the sovereignty founded 
upon fatherhood, come to be divided ; since 
Cain, as heir, had that or property alone; 
Seth, and the other sons, that of fatherhood 
equally with him. This is the best that can 
be made of our authors doctrine, and of the 
two titles of sovereignty he sets up in Adam : 
one of them Will either signify nothing ; or, 
if (hey both must stand, they can serve only 
to confound the rights of princes, and disorder 
government in his posterity : for by building 
upon two titles to dominion, which cannot 
descend together, and which he allows may 
be separated, (for he yields that Adam's chil- 


dren had their distinct territories by right of 
private dominion, Observations, 210, p. 40.) 
he makes it perpetually a doubt upon his prin- 
ciples where the sovereignty is, or to whom 
we owe our obedience, since fatherhood and 
property are distinct titles, and began presently 
upon Adams death to be in distinct persons. 
And which then was to give way to the other? 
§. 76. Let us take the account of it, as he 
himself gives it us. He tells us out of Grotius, 
That Adams children by donation, assignation, 
or some kind of cession before he was dead, had 
their distinct territories by right of private 
dominion; Abel had his flocks and pastures for 
them : Cain had his fields for corn, and the 
land of Nod, where he built him a city, Obser- 
vations, 210. Here it is obvious to demand, 
which of these two after Adams death was 
sovereign? Cain, says our author, p. 19. By 
what title ? As heir ; for heirs to progenitors, 
ivho ivere natural parents of their people, are 
not only lords of their own children, but also of 
their brethren, says our author, p. 19. What 
was Cain heir to? Not the entire possessions, 
not all that which Adam had private dominion 
in ; for our author allows that Abel by a title 
derived from his father, had his distinct terri- 
tory for pasture by right of private dominion. 
What then Abel had by private dominion, was 
exempt from Cain's dominion : for he could 
not have private dominion over that which was 
under the private dominion of another; and 


therefore his sovereignty over his brother is 
gone with this private dominion, and so there are 
presently two sovereigns, and his imaginary 
title of fatherhood is out of doors, and Cain 
is no prince over his brother : or else, if Cain 
retain his sovereignty over Abel, notwithstand- 
ing his private dominion, it will follow, that 
the first grounds and principles of government 
have nothing to do with property, whatever our 
author says to the contrary. Jt is true, Abel 
did not outlive his father Adam; but that 
makes nothing to the argument, which will 
hold good against Sir Robert in Abels issue, 
or in Seth, or any of the posterity of Adam % 
not descended from Cain. 

\. 77. The same inconvenience he runs into 
about the three sons of Noah, who, as he says, 
p. 13. had the whole world divided amongst 
them by their father. I ask then, in which of 
the three shall we find the establishment of 
regal poiver after Noah's death? If in all three, 
as our author there seems to say ; then it will 
follow, that regal power is founded in property 
of land, and follows private dominion, and not 
in paternal power, or natural dominion; and so 
there is an end of paternal power as the 
fountain of regal authority, and the so-much- 
magnified fatherhood quite vanishes. If the 
regal power descended to Shem as eldest, and 
heir to his father, then NoaJts division of the 
world by lot, to his sons or his ten years sailing 
about the Mediterranean to appoint each son 


his part, which our author tells of, p. 15. was 
labour lost; his division of the world to them, 
was to ill, or to no purpose: for his grant to 
Cham and Japhel was little worth, if Shem, 
notwithstanding this grant, as soon as Noah 
was dead, was to be lord over them. Or, if 
this grant of private dominion to them, over 
their assigned territories, were good, here were 
set up two distinct sorts of power, not subor- 
dinate one to the other, with all those incon- 
veniencies which he musters up against the 
potter of the people, Observations, 158. which I 
shall set down in his own words, only changing 
property for people. All power on earth is either 
derived or usurped from the fatherly power, there 
being no other original to be found of any power 
whatsoever : for if there should be granted two 
sorts of power, without any subordination of one 
to the other, they ivould be in perpetual strife 
which should be supreme, for two supremes can- 
not agree: if the fatherly power be supreme, then 
the power grounded on private dominion must be 
subordinate, and depend on it; and if the power 
grounded on property besupreme, then the father- 
ly power must submit to it, and cannot be exercised 
without the licence of the proprietors, ivhich must 
quite destroy the frame and course of nature. 
This is his own arguing against two distinct inde- 
pendent powers, which I have set down in his 
own words, only putting power rising from pro- 
perty, for power of I he people ; and when he has 
answered what he himself has urged here against 


two distinct powers, we shall be better able to 
see how, with any tolerable sense, he can 
derive all regal authority from the natural and 
private dominion of Adam, from fatherhood and 
pr&perty together, which are distinct titles, that 
do not always meet in the same person; and 
it is plain, by his own confession, presently 
separated as soon both as Adams and Noatis 
death made way for succession : though our 
author frequently in his writings jumbles them 
together, and omits not to make use of either, 
where he thinks it will sound best to his 
purpose. But the absurdities of this will more 
fully appear in the next chapter, where we 
shall examine the ways of conveyance of the 
sovereignty of Adam, to princes that were to 
reiiiu after him. 



Of the Conveyance of Adams Sovereign 
Monarchical Power. 

§. 78. Sir Robert, not having been very 
happy in any proof he brings for the sovereign- 
ty of Adam, is not much more fortunate in 
conveying it to future princes, who, if his 
politics be true, must all derive their titles 
from that first monarch. The ways he has 
assigned, as they lie scattered up and down in 
his writings, I will set down in his own words : 
in his preface he tells us, That Adam being 


monarch of the ivhole world, none of his poste- 
rity had any right to j^ossess any thing, but by 
his grant or permission, or by succession from 
him. Here he makes two ways of conveyance 
of any thing Adam stood possessed of; and 
those are grants or succession. Again he says, 
All kings either are, or are to be reputed, the 
next heirs to those first progenitors, ivho were 
at first the natural parents of the ivhole people, 
p. 19. There cannot be any multitude of men 
whatsoever, but that in it, considered by itself 
there is one man amongst them, that in nature 
hath a right to be the king of all the rest, as 
being the next heir to Adam, Observations, 253. 
Here in these places inheritance is the only 
way he allows of conveying- monarchical power 
to princes. In other places he tells ns, Obser- 
vations, 155. All power on earth is either 
derived or usurped from the fatherly power, 
Observations, 158. All kings that now are, 
or ever were, are or were either fathers of their 
people, or heirs of such fathers, or usurpers of the 
right of such fathers, Observations, 253. And 
here he makes inheritance or usurpation the 
only ways whereby kings come by this original 
power: but yet he tells us, This fatherly empire, 
as it ivas of itself hereditary, so it was alienable 
by patent and seizable by an usurper, Observa- 
tions, 190. So then here inheritance, grant, 
or usurpation, will convey it. And last of all, 
which is most admirable, he tells us, p. 100. 
It skills not which way kings come by their 


poiver, whether by election, donation, succession, 
or by any other means ; for it is still the manner 
of the government by supreme power, that makes 
them properly kings, and not the means oj 
obtaining their crowns. Which I think is a full 
answer to all his whole hypothesis and discourse 
about Adams royal authority, as the fountain 
from which all princes are to derive theirs: 
and he might have spared the trouble of speak- 
ing- so much as he does, up and down, of heirs 
and inheritance, if to make one properly a king, 
needs no more but governing by supreme 
poiver, and it matters jwt by what means he 
came by it. 

§. 79. By this notable way, our author may 
make Oliver as properly king, as any one else 
he could think of: and had he had the happi- 
ness to live under Massanetta's government, he 
could not by this his own rule have forborn 
to have done homage to him, with O king live 
for ever, since the manner of his government 
by supreme power, made him properly king, 
who was but the day before properly a fisher- 
man. And if Don Quixote had taught his 
squire to govern with supreme authority, our 
author no doubt could have made a most loyal 
subject in Sancho Pancluis island; and he 
must needs have deserved some preferment in 
such governments, since I think he is the first 
politician, who, pretending to settle government 
upon its true basis, and to establish the thrones 
of lawful princes., ever told the world. Thai he 


was properly a king, whose manner of govern- 
ment was by supreme power, by what means soever 
he obtained it : which in plain English is to say, 
that regal and supreme power is properly and 
truly his, who can by any means seize upon it; 
and if this be to be properly a king, 1 wonder 
how he came to think of, or where lie will find, 
an usurper. 

§. 80. This is so strange a doctrine, that the 
surprise of it hath made me pass by, without 
their due reflection, the contradictions he runs 
into, by making sometimes inheritance alone, 
sometimes only grant or inheritance, sometimes 
only inheritance or usurpation, sometimes all 
these three, and at last election, or any other 
means, added to them, whereby Adams royal 
authority, that is, his right to supreme rule, 
could be conveyed down to future kings and 
governors, so as to give them a title to the 
obedience and subjection of the people. But 
these contradictions lie so open, that the very 
reading of our author's own words will dis- 
cover them to any ordinary understanding; 
and though what I have quoted out of him 
(with abundance more of the same strain and 
coherence which might be found in him) might 
well excuse me from any farther trouble in this 
argument, yet having proposed to myself, to 
examine the main parts of his doctrine, I shall 
a little more particularly consider how inheri- 
tance, grant, usurpation, or election, can any 
way make out government in the world upon 


his principles ; or derive to any one a right of 
empire from this regal authority of Adam, had 
it been never so well proved, that he had been 
absolute monarch, and lord of the whole 


Of Monarchy by Inheritance from Adam. 

§.81. Though it be never so plain, that 
there ought to be government in the world, 
nay, should all men be of our author's mind, 
that divine appointment had ordained it to be 
monarchical; yet, since men cannot obey any 
thing, that cannot command ; and ideas of 
government in the fancy, though never so per- 
fect, though never so right, cannot give laws, 
nor prescribe rules to the actions of men ; it 
would be of no behoof for the settling of order, 
and establishing of government in its exercise 
and use amongst men, unless there were a way 
also taught how to know r the person, to whom 
it belonged to have this power, and exercise 
this dominion over others. It is in vain then 
to talk of subjection and obedience without 
telling us whom we are to obey : for were I 
never so fully persuaded that there ought to 
be magistracy and rule in the world ; yet I am 
nevertheless at liberty still, till it appears who 
is the person that hath right to my obedience ; 
since, if there be no marks to know him bv, 


and distinguish him that hath right to rule 
from other men, it may be myself, as well as 
any other. And therefore, though submission 
to government be every one's duty, yet since that 
signifies nothing but submitting to the direction 
and laws of such men as have authority to com- 
mand, it is not enough to make a man a subject, 
to convince him that there is a regal power hi the 
world ; but there must be ways of designing, 
and knowing the person to whom this regal 
power of right belongs : and a man can never 
be obliged in conscience to submit to any 
power, unless he can be satisfied who is the 
person who has a right to exercise that power 
over him. If this were not so, there would 
be no distinction between pirates and lawful 
princes ; he that has force is without any more 
ado to be obeyed, and crowns and sceptres 
would become the inheritance only of violence 
and rapine. Men too might as often and as 
innocently change their governors, as they do 
their physicians, if the person cannot be known 
who has a right to direct me, and whose 
prescriptions I am bound to follow. To settle 
therefore men's consciences, under an obliga- 
tion to obedience, it is necessary that they 
know not only, that there is a power somewhere 
in the world, but the person who by right is 
vested with this power over them. 

§. 82. How successful our author has been 
in his attempts, to set up a monarchical absolute 
potter in Adam, the reader may judge by what 


has been already said ; but were that absolute 
monarchy as clear as our author would desire 
it, as I presume it is the contrary, yet it could 
be of no use to the government of mankind now 
in the world, unless he also make out these 
two things. 

First, That this power of Adam was not to 
end with him, but was upon his decease con- 
veyed intire to some other person, and so on 
to posterity. 

Secondly, That the princes and rulers now 
on earth are possessed of this power of Adam, 
by a right way of conveyance derived to them. 

§. 83. If the first of these fail, the power of 
Adam, were it never so great, never so certain, 
will signify nothing to the present government 
and societies in the world ; but we must seek 
out some other original of power for the govern- 
ment of politys than this of Adam, or else 
there will be none at all in the world. If the 
latter fail, it will destroy the authority of the 
present governors, and absolve the people from 
subjection to them, since they, having no better 
a claim than others to that power, which is 
alone the fountain of all authority, can have no 
title to rule over them. 

§. 84. Our author, having fancied an abso- 
lute sovereignty in Adam, mentions several 
ways of its conveyance to princes, that were to 
be his successors ; but that which lie chiefly 
insists on, is that of inheritance, which occurs 
so often in his several discourses ; and I having 


in the foregoing chapter quoted several of 
these passages, I shall not need here again to 
repeat them. This sovereignty he erects, as 
has been said, upon a double foundation, viz. 
that of property, and that of fat her hood. One 
was the right he was supposed to have in all 
creatures, a right to possess the earth with the 
beasts, and other inferior ranks of things in it, 
for his private use, exclusive of all other men. 
The other was the right he was supposed to 
have, to rule and govern men, all the rest of 

§. 85. In both these rights, there being sup- 
posed an exclusion of all other men, it must be 
upon some reason peculiar to Adam, that they 
must both be founded. 

That of his property our author supposes to 
arise from Gods immediate donation, Gen. i. 
28. and that of fatherhood from the act of 
begetting: now in all inheritance, if the heir 
succeed not to the reason upon which his 
father's right was founded, he cannot succeed 
to the right which followeth from it. For ex- 
ample, Adam had a right of property in the 
creatures upon the donation and grant of God 
almighty, who was lord and proprietor of them 
all : let this be so as our author tells us, yet 
upon his death his heir can have no title to 
them, no such right of property in them, unless 
the same reason, viz. God's donation, vested a 
right in the heir too : for if Adam could have 
had no property in, nor use of the creatures, 



without this positive donation from God, and 
this donation were only personally to Adam, 
his heir could have no right by it ; but upon 
his death it must revert to God, the lord and 
owner again ; for positive grants give no title 
farther than the express words convey it, and 
by which only it is held. And thus, as if our 
author himself contends, that donation, Gen. i. 
28. were made only to Adam personally, his 
heir could not succeed to his property in the 
creatures ; and if it were a donation to any 
but Adam, let it be shewn, that it was to his 
heir in our author's sense, i. e. to one of his 
children, exclusive of all the rest. 

§. 86. But not to follow our author too far 
out of the way, the plain of the case is this. 
God having made man, and planted in him, 
as in all other animals, a strong desire of self- 
preservation ; and furnished the world with 
things fit for food and raiment, and other 
necessaries of life, subservient to his design, 
that man should live and abide for some time 
upon the face of the earth, and not that so 
curious and wonderful a piece of workmanship, 
by his own negligence, or want of necessaries, 
should perish again, presently after a few 
moments continuance ; God, I say, having 
made man and the world thus, spoke to him, 
(that is) directed him by his senses and reason, 
as he did the inferior animals by their sense 
and instinct, which were serviceable for his 
subsistence, and given him as the means of his 


preservation. And therefore I doubt not, but 
before these words were pronounced, Gen. i. 
28, 29. (if they must be understood literally 
to have been spoken) and without any such 
verbal donation, man had a right to an use of 
the creatures, by the will and grant of God : 
for the desire, strong desire of preserving his 
life and being, having been planted in him as 
a principle of action by God himself, reason, 
which ivas the voice of God in him, could not 
but teach him and assure him, that pursuing 
that natural inclination he had to preserve his 
being, he followed the will of his Maker, and 
therefore had a right to make use of those 
creatures, which by his reason or senses he 
could discover would be serviceable thereunto. 
And thus man's property in the creatures was 
founded upon the right he had to make use 
of those things that were necessary or useful 
to his being. 

§. 87. This being the reason and foundation 
of Adams property, gave the same title, on the 
same ground, to all his children, not only after 
his death, but in his life-time : so that here was 
no privilege of his heir above his other chil- 
dren, which could exclude them from an equal 
right to the use of the inferior creatures, for 
the comfortable preservation of their beings, 
which is all the property man hath in them ; 
and so Adams sovereignty built on property, 
or, as our author calls it, private dominion, 
comes to nothing. Every man had a right to 

h 2 


the creatures, by the same title Adam had, viz. 
by the right every one had to take care of, and 
provide for their subsistence: and thus men 
had a right in common, Adam's children in 
common with him. But if any one had began, 
and made himself a property in any particular 
thing, (which how he, or any one else, could 
do, shall be shewn in another place) that thing, 
that possession, if he disposed not otherwise 
of it by his positive grant, descended naturally 
to his children, and they had a right to succeed 
to it, and possess it. 

§. 88. It might reasonably be asked here, 
how come children by this right of possessing, 
before any other, the properties of their parents 
upon their decease ? for it being personally the 
parents, when they die, without actually trans- 
ferring their right to another, why does it not 
return again to the common stock of mankind ? 
It will perhaps be answered, that common 
consent hath disposed of it to their children. 
Common practice, we see indeed, does so dis- 
pose of it; but we cannot say, that it is the 
common consent of mankind ; for that hath 
never been asked, nor actually given; and if 
common tacit consent hath established it, it 
would make but a positive, and not a natural 
right of children to inherit the goods of their 
parents: but where the practice is universal, 
it is reasonable to think the cause is natural. 
The ground then I think to be this. The first 
and strongest desire God planted in men, and 


wrought into the very principles of their nature, 
being that of self-preservation, that is the 
foundation of a right to the creatures for the 
particular support and use of each individual 
person himself. But, next to this, God planted 
in men a strong desire also of propagating their 
kind, and continuing themselves in their pos- 
terity ; and this gives children a title to share 
in the property of their parents, and a right to 
inherit their possessions. Men are not proprie- 
tors of what they have, merely for themselves; 
their children have a title to part of it, and 
have their kind of right joined with their 
parents, in the possession which comes to be 
wholly theirs, when death, having put an end 
to their parents use of it, hath taken them from 
their possessions ; and this we call inheritance : 
men being by a like obligation bound to pre- 
serve what they have begotten, as to preserve 
themselves, their issue come to have a right in 
the goods they are possessed of. That chil- 
dren have such a right, is plain from the laws 
of God ; and that men are convinced that 
children have such a right, is evident from the 
law of the land ; both which laws require 
parents to provide for their children. 

§. 89. For children being by the course of 
nature, born weak, and unable to provide for 
themselves, they have by the appointment of 
God himself, who hath thus ordered the course 
of nature, a right to be nourished and main- 
tained by their parents ; nay, a right not only 


to a bare subsistence, but to the conveniencies 
and comforts of life, as far as the conditions 
of their parents can afford it. Hence it comes, 
that when their parents leave the world, and 
so the care due to their children ceases, the 
effects of it are to extend as far as possibly 
they can, and the provisions they have made in 
their life-time, are understood to be intended, 
as nature requires they should, for their chil- 
dren, whom, after themselves, they are bound 
to provide for : though the dying parents, by 
express words, declare nothing about them, 
nature appoints the descent of their property 
to their children, who thus come to have a 
title, and natural right of inheritance to their 
fathers goods, which the rest of mankind 
cannot pretend to. 

§. 90. Were it not for this right of being 
nourished and maintained by their parents, 
which God and nature has given to children, 
and obliged parents to as a duty, it would be 
reasonable, that the father should inherit the 
estate of his son, and be preferred in the inhe- 
ritance before his grandchild : for to the grand- 
father there is due a long score of care and 
expences laid out upon the breeding and 
education of his son, which one would think 
in justice ought to be paid. But that having 
been done in obedience to the same law, 
whereby he received nourishment and educa- 
tion from his own parents : this score of 
education, received from a man's father, is paid 


by taking care, and providing for his own 
children ; is paid, I say, as much as is required 
of payment by alteration of property, unless 
present necessity of the parents require a return 
of goods for their necessary support and sub- 
sistence : for we are not now speaking of that 
reverence, acknowledgment, respect and ho- 
nour, that is always due from children to their 
parents ; but of possessions and commodities 
of life valuable by money. But though it be 
incumbent on parents to bring up and provide 
for their children, yet this debt to their children 
does not quite cancel the score due to their 
parents ; but only is made by nature preferable 
to it: for the debt a man owes his father, 
takes place, and gives the father a right to in- 
herit the son's goods, where, for want of issue, 
the right of children doth not exclude that 
title. And therefore a man having a right to 
be maintained by his children, where he needs 
it; and to enjoy also the comforts of life from 
them, when the necessary provision due to 
them and their children will afford it; if his 
son die without issue, the father has a right 
in nature to possess his goods, and inherit his 
estate, (whatever the municipal laws of some 
countries may absurdly direct otherwise ;) and 
so again his children and their issue from him ; 
or, for want of such, his father and his issue. 
But where no such are to be found, i. e. no 
kindred, there we see the possessions of a 
private man revert to the community, and so 


in politic societies come into the hands of the 
public magistrate ; but in the state of nature 
become again perfectly common, nobody 
having a right to inherit them : nor can any one 
have a property in them, otherwise than in 
other things common by nature ; of which 1 
shall speak in its due place. 

§. 9J. I have been the larger, in shewing 
upon what ground children have a right to 
succeed to the possession of their fathers pro- 
perties, not only because by it, it will appear, 
that if Adam had a property (a titular, insigni- 
ficant, useless property; for it could be no 
better, for he was bound to nourish and main- 
tain his children and posterity out of it) in the 
whole earth and its product, yet all his children 
coming to have, by the law of nature, and 
right of inheritance, a joint title, and right of 
property in it after his death, it could convey 
no right of sovereignty to any one of his pos- 
terity over the rest : since every one having a 
right of inheritance to his portion, they might 
enjoy their inheritance, or any part of it in 
common, or share it, or some parts of it, by 
division, as it best liked them. But no one 
could pretend to the whole inheritance, or any 
sovereignty supposed to accompany it; since 
a right of inheritance gave every one of the 
rest, as well as any one, a title to share in the 
goods of his father. Not only upon this 
account, 1 say, have I been so particular in 
examining tht reason of children's inheriting 


the property of their fathers, but also because 
it will give us farther light in the inheritance of 
rule and power, which in countries where their 
particular municipal laws give the whole pos- 
session of land entirely to the first-born, and 
descent of power has gone so to men by this 
custom, some have been apt to be deceived 
into an opinion, that there was a natural or 
divine right of primogeniture, to both estate 
and power; and that the inheritance of both 
rule over men, and property in tilings, sprang 
from the same original, and were to descend 
by the same rules. 

§. 92. Property, whose original is from the 
right a man has to use any of the inferior 
creatures, for the subsistence and comfort of 
his life, is for the benefit and sole advantage of 
the proprietor, so that he may even destroy the 
thing, that he has property in by his use of it, 
where need requires: but government being 
for the preservation of every man's right and 
property, by preserving him from the violence 
or injury of others, is for the good of the govern- 
ed : for the magistrate's sword being for a 
terror to evil doers, and by that terror to in- 
force men to observe the positive laws of the 
society, made conformable to the laws of na- 
ture, for the public good, i. e. the good of 
every particular member of that society, as far 
as by common rules it can be provided for; 
the sword is not given the magistrate for his 
own good alone. 


§. 93. Children therefore, as has been shew- 
ed, by the depend ance they have on their 
parents for subsistence, have a right of inheri- 
tance to their fathers property, as that which 
belongs to them for their proper good and 
behoof, and therefore are fitly termed goods, 
wherein the first-born has not a sole or pecu- 
liar right by any law of God and nature, the 
younger children having an equal title with 
him, founded on that right they all have to 
maintenance, support, and comfort from their 
parents, and on nothing else. But government 
being for the benefit of the governed, and not 
the sole advantage of the governors, (but only 
for theirs with the rest, as they make a part of 
that politic body, each of whose parts and 
members are taken care of, and directed in its 
peculiar functions for the good of the whole, 
by the laws of society) cannot be inherited by 
the same title, that children have to the goods 
of their father. The right a son has to be 
maintained and provided with the necessaries 
and conveniencies of life out of his father's 
stock, gives him a right to succeed to his 
father's property for his own good ; but this 
can give him no right to succeed also to the 
rule, which his father had over other men. 
All that a child has right to claim from his 
father is nourishment and education, and the 
things nature furnishes for the support of life : 
but he has no right to demand rule or dominion 
from him : he can subsist and receive from him 


(lie portion of good tilings, and advantages of 
education naturally due to him, without empire 
and dominion. That (if his father hath any) 
was vested in him, for the good and behoof of 
others : and therefore the son cannot claim or 
inherit it by a title, which is founded wholly 
on his own private good and advantage. 

§. 94. We must know how the first ruler, 
from whom any one claims, came by his au- 
thority, upon what ground any one has empire, 
what his title is to it, before we can know who 
has a right to succeed him in it, and inherit it 
from him : if the agreement and consent of 
men first gave a sceptre into any one's hand, 
or put a crown on his head, that also must 
direct its descent and conveyance ; for the 
same authority, that made the first a lawful 
ruler, must make the second too, and so give 
right of succession: in this case inheritance, 
or primogeniture, can in itself have no pretence 
to it, any farther than that consent, which 
established the form of the government, »hath 
so settled the succession. And thus we see, 
the succession of crowns, in several countries, 
places it on different heads, and he comes by 
right of succession to be a prince in one place, 
who would be a subject in another. 

§. 95. If God, by his positive grant and re- 
vealed declaration, first gave rule and dominion 
to any man, he that will claim by that title, 
must have the same positive grant of God for 
his succession: for if that has not directed the 


course of its descent and conveyance down to 
others, nobody can succeed to this title of the 
first ruler. Children have no right of inheri- 
tance in this ; and primogeniture can lay no 
claim to it, unless God, the author of this 
constitution, hath so ordained it. Thus we 
see, the pretensions of Saul's family, who re- 
ceived his crown from the immediate appoint- 
ment of God, ended with his reign; and David, 
by the same title that Saul reigned, viz. God's 
appointment, succeeded in his throne, to the 
exclusion of Jonathan, and all pretensions of 
paternal inheritance : and if Solomon had a 
right to succeed his father, it must be by some 
other title, than that of primogeniture. A cadet, 
or sister's son, must have the preference in 
succession, if he has the same title the first law- 
ful prince had : and in dominion that had its 
foundation only in the positive appointment of 
God himself, Benjamin, the youngest, must 
have the inheritance of the crown, if God so 
direct, as well as one of that tribe had the first 

§. 96. If paternal right, the act of begetting, 
give a man rule and dominion inheritance or 
primogeniture can give no title : for he that 
cannot succeed to his father's title, which was 
begetting, cannot succeed to that power over 
his brethren, which his father had by paternal 
right over them. But of this I shall have oc- 
casion to say more in another place. This is 
plain in the mean time, that any government, 


whether supposed to be at first founded in 
paternal rigid, consent of the people, or the 
positive appointment of God himself, which ran 
supersede either of the other, and so begin a 
new government upon a new foundation ; I say, 
any government began upon either of these, 
can by right of succession come to those only, 
who have the title of him they succeed to : 
power founded on contract can descend only 
to him, who has right by that contract : power 
founded on begetting, he only can have that 
begets; and power founded on the positive 
grant or donation of God, he only can have by 
right of succession, to whom that grant directs 

§. 97. From what I have said, I think this is 
clear, that a right to the use of the creatures, 
being founded originally in the right a man has 
to subsist and enjoy the conveniencies of life ; 
and the natural right children have to inherit 
the goods of their parents, being founded in the 
right they have to the same subsistence and 
commodities of life, out of the stock of their 
parents, who are therefore taught by natural 
love and tenderness to provide for them, as a 
part of themselves ; and all this being only for 
the good of the proprietor, or heir; it can be 
no reason for children's inheriting of rule and 
dominion, which has another original and a 
different end. Nor can primogeniture have 
any pretence to a right of solely inheriting 
either property or power, as we shall, in its due 


place, see more fully. It is enough to have 
shewed here, that Adam's property, or private 
dominion, could not convey any sovereignty or 
rule to his heir, who not having a right to in- 
herit all his fathers possessions, could not 
thereby come to have any sovereignty over his 
brethren : and therefore, if any sovereignty on 
account of his property had been vested in 
Adam, which in truth there was not, yet it 
would have died with him. 

§. 98. As Adams sovereignty, if, by virtue 
of being proprietor of the world, he had any 
authority over men, could not have been in- 
herited by any of his children over the rest, 
because they had the same title to divide the 
inheritance, and every one had a right to a 
portion of his father's possessions ; so neither 
could Adams sovereignty by right of father- 
hood, if any such he had, descend to any one 
of his children : for it being, in our author's 
account, a right acquired by begetting to rule 
over those he had begotten, it was not a power 
possible to be inherited, because the right being* 
consequent to, and built on, an act perfectly 
personal, made that power so too, and impos- 
sible to be inherited : for paternal power, being 
a natural right rising only from the relation of 
father and son, is as impossible to be inherited 
as the relation itself; and a man may pretend 
as well to inherit the conjugal power the hus- 
band, whose heir he is, had over his wife, as 
he can to inherit the paternal power of a father 


over his children : for the power of the husband 
being founded on contract, and the power of 
the father on begetting, he may as well inherit 
the power obtained by the conjugal contract, 
which was only personal, as he may the power 
obtained by begetting - , which could reach no 
farther than the person of the begetter, unless 
begetting can be a title to power in him that 
does not beget. 

§. 90. Which makes it a reasonable question 
to ask, whether Adam, dying before Eve, his 
heir, (suppose Cain or Seth) should have by 
right of inheriting Adam s fatherhood, sovereign 
power over Eve his mother : for Adams father- 
hood being nothing but a right he had to govern 
his children, because he begot them, he that 
inherits Adams fatherhood, inherits nothing, 
even in our author's sense, but the right Adam 
had to govern his children, because he begot 
them : so that the monarchy of the heir would 
not have taken in Eve; or if it did, it being 
nothing but the fatherhood of Adam descended 
by inheritance, the heir must have right to 
govern Eve, because Adam begot her; for 
fatherhood is nothing else. 

§. 100. Perhaps it will be said with our 
author, that a man can alien his power over 
his child; and what may be transferred by 
compact, may be possessed by inheritance. I 
answer, a father cannot alien the power he has 
over his child : he may perhaps to some degrees 
forfeit it, but cannot transfer it; and if any 


other man acquire it, it is not by the fathers 
grant, but by some act of his own. For ex- 
ample, a father, naturally careless of his child, 
sells or gives him to another man ; and he 
again exposes him ; a third man finding him, 
breeds up, cherishes, and provides for him as 
his own : I think in this case, nobody will 
doubt, but that the greatest part of filial duty 
and subjection was here owing, and to be paid 
to this foster-father ; and if any thing could 
be demanded from the child by either of the 
other, it could only be due to his natural father, 
who perhaps might have forfeited his right to 
much of that duty comprehended in the com- 
mand, Honour your parents, but could transfer 
none of it to another. He that purchased, and 
neglected the child, got by his purchase and 
grant of the father, no title to duty or honour 
from the child ; but only he acquired it, who 
by his own authority, performing the office and 
care of a father, to the forlorn and perishing 
infant, made himself, by paternal care, a title 
to proportionable degrees of paternal power. 
This will be more easily admitted upon consi- 
deration of the nature of paternal power, for 
which I refer my reader to the second book. 

§. 101. To return to the argument in hand ; 
this is evident, That paternal power arising 
only from begetting, for in that our author 
places it alone, can neither be transferred nor 
inherited : and he that does not beget, can no 
more have paternal power, which arises from 


thence, than he can have a right to any thing, 
who performs not the condition, to which only 
it is annexed. If one should ask, by what law 
has a father power over his children? it will 
be answered, no doubt, by the law of nature, 
which gives such a power over them, to him 
that begets them. If one should ask likewise, 
by what law does our author's heir come by a 
right to inherit? I think it would be answered, 
by the law of nature too : for I find not that 
our author brings one word of scripture to 
prove the right of such an heir he speaks of. 
Why then the law of nature gives fathers 
paternal power over their children, because 
they did beget them ; and the same law of 
nature gives the same paternal power to the 
heir over his brethren, who did not beget them : 
whence it follows, that either the father has not 
his paternal power by begetting, or else that 
the heir has it not at all ; for it is hard to 
understand how the law of nature, which is the 
law of reason, can give the paternal power 
to the father over his children, for the only 
reason of begetting ; and to the first-born over 
his brethren without this only reason, i. c. for 
no reason at all : and if the eldest, by the law 
of nature, can. inherit this paternal power, 
without the only reason that gives a title to it, 
s<> may the youngest as well as he, and a 
stranger as well as either; for where there is 
no reason for any our, as then- is not, but for 
him that begets, all have an equal title. I am 



sure our author offers no reason ; and when 
any body does, we shall see whether it Avill 
hold or no. 

§. 102. In the mean time it is as good sense 
to say, that by the law of nature a man has 
right to inherit the property of another, because 
he is of kin to him, and is known to be of his 
blood ; and therefore, by the same law of 
nature, an utter stranger to his blood has right 
to inherit his estate ; as to say that, by the law 
of nature, he that begets them has paternal 
power over his children, and therefore, by the 
law of nature, the heir that begets them not, 
has this paternal power over them ; or suppo- 
sing the law of the land gave absolute power 
over their children, to such only who nursed 
them, and fed their children themselves, could 
any body pretend, that this law gave any one, 
who did no such thing, absolute power over 
those, who were not his children ? 

<§. 103. When therefore it can be shewed, 
that conjugal power can belong to him that is 
not an husband, it will also I believe be proved, 
that our author's paternal power, acquired by 
begetting, may be inherited by a son ; and that 
a brother, as heir to his father's power, may 
have paternal power, over his brethren, and by 
the same rule conjugal power too: but till 
then, I think we may rest satisfied, that the 
paternal power of Adam, this sovereign autho- 
rity of fatherhood, were there any such, could 
not descend to, nor be inherited by, his next 


heir. Fatherly power, I easily grant our author, 
if it will do him any good, can never be lost, 
because it will be as long in the world as there 
are fathers : but none of them will have Adams 
paternal power, or derive their's from him; 
but every one will have his own, by the same 
title Adam had his, viz. by begetting', but not 
by inheritance, or succession, no more than 
husbands have their conjugal power by inheri- 
tance from Adam. And thus we see, as Adam 
had no such property, no such paternal poiver, 
as gave him sovereign jurisdiction over man- 
kind ; so likewise his sovereignty built upon 
either of these titles, [if he had any such, could 
not have descended to his heir, but must have 
ended with him. Adam therefore, as lias been 
proved, being neither monarch, nor his imagi- 
nary monarchy hereditable, the power which 
is now in the world, is not that which was 
Adam's, since all that Adam could have upon 
our author's grounds, either of property or 
fatherhood, necessarily died with him, and 
could not be conveyed to posterity by inheri- 
tance. In the next place we will consider, 
whether Adam had any such heir, to inherit 
his power, as our author talks of. 

i 2 



Of the Heir to Adam's Monarchical Power. 

§. 104. Our author tells us, Observations, 
253. That it is a truth undeniable, that there 
cannot be any multitude of men whatsoever, 
either great or small, though gathered together 
from the several corners and remotest regions of 
the world, but that in the same multitude, con- 
sidered by itself, there is one man amongst them, 
that in nature hath a right to be king of all the 
rest, as being the next heir to Adam, and all the 
other subjects to him : every man by nature is a 
king or a subject. And again, p. 20. If 
Adam himself ivere still living, and now ready 
to die, it is certain that there is one man, and 
but one in the world, ivho is next heir. Let this 
multitude of men be, if our author pleases, all 
the princes upon the earth, there will then be, 
by our authors rule, one amongst them, that in 
nature hath a right to be king of all the rest, 
as being the right heir to Adam ; an excellent 
way to establish the thrones of princes, and 
settle the obedience of their subjects, by setting- 
up an hundred, or perhaps a thousand titles 
(if there be so many princes in the world) 
against any king now reigning, each as good, 
upon our author's grounds, as his who wears the 
crown. If this right of heir carry any weight 
with it, if it be the ordinance of God, as our 


tuthor seems to tell us, Observations, 241. must 
not all be subject to it, from the highest to the 
lowest? Can those who wear the name of 
princes, without having the right of being heirs 
to Adam, demand obedience from their subjects 
by this title, and not be bound to pay it by the 
s;une law ? Either governments in the world 
are not to be claimed, and held by this title of 
Adam's heir ; and then the starting of it is to. 
no purpose, the being or not being Adam's heir, 
signifies nothing as to the title of dominion : or 
if it really be, as our author says, the true title 
to government or sovereignty, the first thing to 
be done, is to find out this true heir of Adam, 
scat him in his throne, and then all the kings 
and princes of the world ought to come and 
resign up their crowns and sceptres to him, as 
things that belong no more to them, than to any 
of their subjects. 

§. 105. For either this right in nature, of 
Adams heir, to be king over all the race of 
men, (for all together they make one multitude) 
is a right not necessary to the making of a 
lawful king, and so there may be lawful kings 
without it, and then kings titles and power 
depend not on it ; or else all the kings in the 
world but one are not lawful kings, and so 
have no right to obedience : either this title of 
heir to Adam is that whereby kings hold their 
crowns, and have a right to subjection from 
their subjects, and then one only can have it, 
ind the rest being subjects can require no 


obedience from other men, who are but their 
fellow-subjects; or else it is not the title 
whereby kings rule, and have a right to obe- 
dience from their subjects, and then kings are 
kings without it, and this dream of the natural 
sovereignty of Adams heir is of no use to 
obedience and government : for if kings have a 
right to dominion, and the obedience of their 
subjects, who are not, nor can possibly be, 
heirs to Adam, what use is there of such a 
title, when we are obliged to obey without it? 
If kings, who are not heirs to Adam, have no 
right to sovereignty, we are all free, till our 
author, or any body for him, will shew us 
Adam's right heir. If there be but one heir of 
Adam, there can be but one lawful king in the 
world, and nobody in conscience can be obliged 
to obedience till it be resolved who that is ; for 
it may be any one, who is not known to be of 
a younger house, and all others have equal 
titles. If there be more than one heir of Adam, 
every one is his heir, and so every one has 
regal power: for if two sons can be heirs 
together, then all the sons are equally heirs, 
and so all arc heirs, being all sons, or sons 
sons of Adam. Betwixt these two the right of 
heir cannot stand ; for by it either but one only 
man, or all men are kings. Take which you 
please, it dissolves the bonds of government 
and obedience; since, if all men are heirs, 
they can owe obedience to nobody; if only 
• mi be obliged to pay ol>< di< m - 

him, till he be known, and his t it 1« made out 


Who HEIR? 

§. 106. The great question which in all 
ages has disturbed mankind, and brought on 
them the greatest part of those mischiefs which 
have ruined cities, depopulated countries, and 
disordered the peace of the world, has been, 
not whether there be power in the world, nor 
whence it came, but who should have it. The 
settling of this point being of no smaller mo- 
ment than the security of princes, and the 
peace and welfare of their estates and king- 
doms, a reformer of politics, one would think, 
should lay this sure, and be very clear in it : 
for if this remain disputable, all the rest will be 
to very little purpose; and the skill used in 
dressing up power with all the splendour and 
temptation absoluteness can add to it, without 
shewing who has a right to have it, will serve 
only to give a greater edge to man's natural 
ambition, which of itself is but too keen. What 
can this do but set men on the more eagerly to 
scramble, and so lay a sure and lasting foun- 
dation of endless contention and disorder, 
instead of that peace and tranquillity, which 
is the business of government, and the end of 
human society ? 

§. 107. This designation of the person our 
author is more than ordinary obliged to take 


care of, because he, affirming that the assign- 
ment of civil poiver is by divine institution, hath 
made the conveyance as well as the power 
itself sacred : so that no consideration, no act 
or art of man, can divert it from that person, 
to whom, by this divine right, it is assigned ; 
no necessity or contrivance can substitute 
another person in his room : for if the assign- 
ment of civil power be by divine institution, and 
Adams heir be he to whom it is thus assigned, 
as in the foregoing chapter our author tells us, 
it would be as much sacrilege for any one to 
be king, who was not Adams heir, as it would 
have been amongst the Jews, for any one to 
have been priest, who had not been of Aaron s 
posterity : for not only the priesthood in general 
being by divine institution, but the assignment 
of it to the sole line and posterity of Aaron, 
made it impossible to be enjoyed or exercised 
by any one, but those persons who were the 
offspring of Aaron : whose succession therefore 
was carefully observed, and by that the persons 
who had a right to the priesthood certainly 

§. 108. Let us see then what care our author 
has taken, to make us know who is this heir, 
who by divine institution has a right to be king 
over all men. The first account of him we 
meet with is, p. 12. in these words: This sub- 
jection of children, being the fountain of all 
regal authority, by the ordination of God him- 
wff> it follows, that civil power, not only in 


general, is by divine institution, bat even the, 
assignment of it, specifically to Ike eldest parents. 
Matters of such consequence as this is, should 
be in plain words, as little liable, as might be, 
to doubt or equivocation; and I think, if 
language be capable of expressing any thing 
distinctly and clearly, that of kindred, and the 
several degrees of nearness of blood, is one. 
It were therefore to be wished, that our author 
had used a little more intelligible expressions 
here, that we might have better known, who it 
is, to whom the assignment of civil power is 
made by divine institution ; or at least would 
have told us what he meant by eldest parents : 
for I believe, if land had been assigned or 
granted to him, and the eldest parents of his 
family, he would have thought it had needed 
an interpreter ; and it would scarce have been 
known to whom it next belonged. 

^. 109. In propriety of speech, (and certainly 
propriety of speech is necessary in a discourse 
of this nature) eldest parents signifies either the 
eldest men and women that have had children, 
or those who have longest had issue ; and then 
our author's assertion will be, that those fathers 
and mothers, who have been longest in the 
world, or longest fruitful, have by divine insti- 
tution a right to civil potter. If there be any 
absurdity in this, our author must answer for 
it: and if his meaning be different from my 
explication, he is to be blamed, that he would 
not speak it plainly. This I am sure, parents 


cannot signify heirs male, nor eldest parents an 
infant child : who yet may sometimes be the 
true heir, if there can be but one. And we are 
hereby still as much at a loss, who civil power 
belongs to, notwithstanding this assignment by 
divine institution, as if there had been no such 
assignment at all, or our author had said no- 
thing of it. This of eldest parents leaving us 
more in the dark, who by divine institution has 
a right to civil power, than those who never 
heard any thing at all of heir, or descent, of 
which our author is so full. And though the 
chief matter of his writing be to teach obedience 
to those, who have a right to it, which he tells 
us is conveyed by descent, yet who those are, 
to whom this right by descent belongs, he 
leaves, like the philosophers stone in politics, 
out of the reach of any one to discover from 
his writings. 

§. 110. This obscurity cannot be imputed to 
want of language in so great a master of style 
as Sir Robert is, when he is resolved with 
himself what he would say: and therefore, I 
fear, finding how hard it would be to settle 
rules of descent by institution, and how little 
it would be to his purpose, or conduce to the 
clearing and establishing the titles of princes, 
if such rules of descent were settled, he chose 
rather to content himself with doubtful and 
general terms, which might make no ill sound 
in nuns ears, who were willing to be pleased 
with them, rather than offer any clear rules of 


descent of this fatherhood of Adam, by which 
men's consciences might be satisfied to whom 
it descended, and know the persons who had 
a right to regal power, and with it to their 

§. 111. How else is it possible, that laying 
so much stress, as he does, upon descent, and 
Adam's heir, next, heir, true heir, he should 
never tell us what heir means, nor the way to 
know who the next or true heir is ? This, I do 
not remember, he does any where expressly 
handle ; but, where it comes in his way, very 
warily and doubtfully touches ; though it be 
so necessary, that without it all discourses of 
government and obedience upon his principles 
would be to no purpose, and fatherly poiver, 
never so well made out, will be of no use to 
any body. Hence he tells us, Observations, 
244. That not only the constitution of power 
in general, but the limitation of it to one kind, 
(i. e.) monarchy, and the determination of it to 
the individual person and line of Adam, are all 
I /tree ordinances of God; neither Eve nor her 
children could either limit Adam's poiver, or 
join others with him ; and what ivas given unto 
Adam ivas given in his person to his posterity. 
Here again our author informs us, that the 
divine ordinance hath limited the descent of 
Adam's monarchical power. To whom? To 
Adam's lint and posterity, says our author. A 

(table limitation, a limitation to all mankind: 
if our author can find any one amongst 


mankind, that is not of the li?ie and posterity 
of Adam, he may perhaps tell him, who this 
next heir of Adam is : but for us, I despair 
how this limitation of Adam's empire to his 
tine and posterity will help us to find out one 
heir. This limitation indeed of our author 
will save those the labour, who would look for 
him amongst the race of brutes, if any such 
there were ; but will very little contribute to 
the discovery of one next heir amongst men, 
though it make a short and easy determination 
of the question about the descent of Adam's 
regal power, by telling us, that the line and 
posterity of Adam is to have it, that is, in plain 
English, any one may have it, since there is 
no person living that hath not the title of being 
of the line and posterity of Adam; and while 
it keeps there, it keeps within our author's 
limitation by God's ordinance. Indeed, p. 19. 
he tells us, that such heirs are not only lords 
of their own children, but of their brethren; 
whereby, and by the words following, which 
we shall consider anon, he seems to insinuate, 
that the eldest son is heir ; but he no where, 
that I know, says it in direct words, but by the 
instances of Cain and Jacob, that there follow, 
we may allow this to be so far his opinion 
concerning heirs, that where there are divers 
children, the eldest son has the right to be heir. 
That primogeniture cannot give any title to 
paternal power, we have already shewed. 
That a father may have a natural right to 


some kind of power over his children, is easily 
granted ; hut that an elder brother has so over 
his brethren, remains to be proved : God or 
nature has not any where, that I know, placed 
such jurisdiction in the first-born; nor can 
reason find any such natural superiority amongst 
brethren. The law of Moses gave a double 
portion of the goods and possessions to the 
eldest; but we find not any where that na- 
turally, or by God's institution, superiority or 
dominion belonged to him, and the instances 
there brought by our author are but slender 
proofs of a right to civil power and dominion 
in the first-born, and do rather shew the 

§. 1 12. His words are in the forecited place: 
And therefore ivefind God told Cain of his bro- 
ther Abel : his desire shall be subject unto thee, 
and thou shall rule over him. To which 1 

1. These words of God to Cain, are by many 
interpreters, with great reason, understood in 
a quite different sense than what our author 
uses them in. 

2. Whatever was meant by them, it could 
not be, that Cain, as elder, had a natural do- 
mion over Abel; for the words are conditional, 
If thou dost well: and so personal to Cain: 
and whatever was signified by them, did de- 
pend on his carriage, and not follow his birth- 
right ; and therefore could by no means be 
an establishment of dominion in the first-born 


in general : for before this Abel had his distinct 
territories by right of private dominion, as our 
author himself confesses, Observations, 210, 
which he could not have had to the prejudice 
of the heirs title, if by divine institution, Cain 
as heir were to inherit all his father's dominion. 

3. If this were intended by God as the char- 
ter of primogeniture, and the grant of dominion 
to elder brothers in general as such, by right 
of inheritance, we might expect it should have 
included all his brethren : for we may well 
suppose, Adam, from whom the world was to 
be peopled, had by this time, that these were 
grown up to be men, more sons than these 
two : whereas Abel himself is not so much as. 
named ; and the words in the original can 
scarce, with any good construction, be applied 
to him. 

4. It is too much to build a doctrine of so 
mighty consequence upon so doubtful and 
obscure a place of scripture, which may be 
well, nay better, understood in a quite dif- 
ferent sense, and so can be but an ill proof, 
being as doubtful as the thing to be proved by 
it; especially when there is nothing else in 
scripture or reason to be found, that favours 
or supports it. 

§. 113. It follows, p. 19. Accordingly when 
Jacob bought his brothers birth-right, Isaac 
blessed him thus; Be lord over thy brethren, 
(uid let the sons of thy mother bow before thee. 
Another instance, I take it, brought by our 


author to evince dominion tine to birth-right, 
aud an admirable one it is : for it must he no 
ordinary way of reasoning in a man, that is 
pleading for the natural power of kings, and 
against all compact, to bring for proof of it, 
an example, where his own account of it founds 
all the right upon compact, and settles empire 
in the younger brother, unless buying and selling- 
be no compact; for he tells us, tvhen Jacob 
bought his brother s birth-right. But passing 
by that, let us consider the history itself, what 
use our author makes of it, and we shall find 
these following mistakes about it. 

1 . That our author reports this, as if Isaac 
had given Jacob this blessing, immediately up- 
on his purchasing the birth-right ; for he says, 
when Jacob bought, Isaac blessed him; which 
is plainly otherwise in the scripture : for it 
appears, there was a distance of time between, 
and if we will take the story in the order it 
lies, it must be no small distance ; all Isaac's 
sojourning in Gerar, and transactions with 
Abimelech, Gen. xxvi. coming between ; Re- 
becca being then beautiful, and consequently 
young ; but Isaac, when he blessed Jacob, was 
old and decrepit; and Esau also complains 
of Jacob, Gen. xxvii. 36. that two times he had 
supplanted him ; He took aivay my birth-right, 
says he, and behold now he hath taken away 
my blessing; words, that I think signify dis- 
tance of time and difference of action. 

2. Another mistake of our author's is, that 


he supposes Isaac gave Jacob the blessing, and 
bid him be lord over his brethren, because he 
had the birth-right ; for our author brings this 
example to prove, that he that has the birth- 
right, has thereby a right to be lord over his 
brethren. But it is also manifest by the text, 
that Isaac had no consideration of Jacob's 
having bought the birth-right; for when he 
blessed him, he considered him not as Jacob, 
but took him for Esau. Nor did Esau under- 
stand any such connection between birth-right 
and the blessing; for he says, He hath sup- 
planted me these two times, he took away my 
birth-right, and behold now he hath taken away 
my blessing : whereas had the blessing, which 
was to be lord over his brethren, belonged to 
the birth-right, Esau could not have com- 
plained of this second, as a cheat, Jacob having 
got nothing but what Esau had sold him, when 
he sold him his birth-ri<rht ; so that it is plain, 
dominion, if these words signify it, was not 
understood to belong to the birth-ri<>'ht. 

\. 114. And that in those days of the pa- 
triarchs, dominion was not understood to be 
the right of the heir, but only a greater portion 
of goods, is plain from Gen. xxi. 10. for Sarah, 
taking Isaac to be heir, says, Cast out this 
bondwoman and her son, for the son of this 
bondwoman shall not be heir with my son: 
whereby could be meant nothing, but that he 
should not have a pretence to an equal share 
of his father's estate after his death, but should 


have his portion presently, and begone. Ac- 
cordingly we read, Gen. xxv. 5, 6. That 
Abraham gave all he had unto Isaac, but unto 
the sons of the concubines which Abraham had, 
Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from 
Isaac Ms son, ivhile he yet lived. That is, Abra- 
ham having- given portions to all his other sons, 
and sent them away, that which he had re- 
served, being the greatest part of his substance, 
Isaac as heir possessed after his , death : but 
by being heir, he had no right to be lord over 
his brethren; for if he had, why should Sarah 
endeavour to rob him of one of his subjects, 
or lessen the number of his slaves, by desiring 
to have Ishmael sent away ? 

§. 115. Thus, as under the law, the privi- 
lege of birth-right was nothing but a double 
portion : so we see that before Moses, in the 
patriarchs time, from whence our author pre- 
tends to take his model, there was no know- 
ledge, no thought, that birth-right gave rule 
or empire, paternal or kingly authority, to any 
one over his brethren. If this be not plain 
enough in the story of Isaac and Ishmael, he 
that will look into 1 Chron. v. 12. may read 
these words ; Reuben ivas the first-born ; but 
forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his 
birth-right, ivas given unto the sons of Joseph, 
the son of Israel : and the genealogy is not to 
be reckoned after the birth-right; for Judah 
prevailed above his brethren, and of him came 
the chief rider ; but the birth-right was Joseph's. 



What this births-right was, Jacob blessing* Jo- 
seph, Gen. xlviii. 22. telleth us in these words, 
Moreover I have given thee one "portion above thy 
brethren, which I took out of the hand of the 
Amorite, with my sword and with my bow. 
AVhereby it is not only plain, that the birth- 
right was nothing but a double portion; but 
the text in Chronicles is express against our 
author's doctrine, and shews that dominion 
was no part of the birth-right ; for it tells us, 
that Joseph had the birth-right, but Judah the 
dominion. One would think our author were 
very fond of the very name of birth-right, 
when he brings this instance of Jacob and 
Esau, to prove that dominion belongs to the 
heir over his brethren. 

§.116. 1. Because it will be but an ill ex- 
ample to prove, that dominion by God's ordi- 
nation belonged to the eldest son, because Ja- 
cob the youngest here had it, let him come by 
it how he would : for if it prove any thing, it 
can only prove, against our author, that tin 1 
assignment of dominion to the eldest is not by 
divine institution, which would then be unalter- 
able : for if by the law of God, or nature, 
absolute power and empire belongs to the 
eldest son and his heirs, so that they are su- 
preme monarchs, and all the rest of their 
brethren slaves, our author gives us reason to 
doubt whether the eldest son has a power to 
part with it, to the prejudice of his posterity, 
since he tells us, Observations, 158. That in 


grants and gifts that have their original from 
God or nature, no inferior power of man can 
limit or make any law of prescription against 

<§. 117. 2. Because this place, Gen. xxvii. 
29. brought by our author, concerns not at all 
the dominion of one brother over the other, nor 
the subjection of Esau to Jacob : for it is plain 
in the history, that Esau was never subject to 
Jacob, but lived apart in mount Seir, where he 
founded a distinct people and government, 
and was himself prince over them, as much as 
Jacob was in his own family. This text, if 
considered, can never be understood of Esau 
himself, or the personal dominion of Jacob over 
him : for the words brethren and sons of thy 
mother, could not be used literally by Isaac, 
who knew Jacob had only one brother; and 
these words are so far from being true in a 
literal sense, or establishing any dominion in 
Jacob over Esau, that in the story we find the 
quite contrary, for Gen. xxxii. Jacob several 
times calls Esaulord, and himself his servant; 
and Gen. xxxiii. he bowed himself seven times 
to the ground to Esau. Whether Esau then 
were a subject and vassal (nay, as our author 
tells us, all subjects are slaves) to Jacob, and 
Jacob his sovereign prince by birth -right, I 
leave the reader to judge; and to believe if he 
ran, that these words of Isaac, Ee lord over 
thy brethren, and let thy mother s sons bow down 
to thee, confirmed Jacob in a sovereignty over 

K 2 


Esau, upon the account of the birth-right he 
had got from him. 

§. 118. He that reads the story of Jacob and 
Esau, will find there was never any jurisdiction 
or authority, that either of them had over the 
other after their father's death: they lived with 
the friendship and equality of brethren, neither 
lord, neither slave to his brother ; but indepen- 
dent each of other, were both heads of their 
distinct families, where they received no laws 
from one another, but lived separately, and 
were the roots out of which sprang two distinct 
people under two distinct governments. This 
blessing then of Isaac, whereon our author 
would build the dominion of the elder brother, 
signifies no more, but what Rebecca had been 
told from God, Gen. xxv. 23. Two nations are 
in thy ivomb, and tico manner of people shall be 
separated from thy bowels, and the one people 
shall be stronger than the other people, and the 
elder shall serve the younger; and so Jacob 
blessed Judah, Gen, xlix. and gave him the 
sceptre and dominion, from whence our author 
might have argued as well, that jurisdiction 
and dominion belongs to the third son over his 
brethren, as well as from this blessing of Isaac, 
that it belonged to Jacob: both these places 
contain only predictions of what should long 
after happen to their posterities, and not any 
declaration of the right of inheritance to do- 
minion in either. And thus we have our an- 


thDr's two great and only arguments to prove, 
that heirs are lords over their brethren. 

1. Because God tells Cain, Gen. iv. that 
however sin might set upon him, he ought or 
might be master of it : for the most learned in- 
terpreters understood the words of sin, and not 
of Abel, and give so strong reasons for it, that 
nothing can convincingly be inferred from so 
doubtful a text, to our author's purpose. 

2. Because in this of Gen. xxvii. Isaac fore- 
tels that the Israelites, the posterity of Jacob, 
should have dominion over the Edomites, the 
posterity of Esau ; therefore says our author, 
heirs are lords of their brethren: I leave any 
one to judge of the conclusion. 

§. 119. And now we see how our author 
has provided for the descending, and convey- 
ance down of Adams monarchical power, or 
paternal dominion to posterity, by the inhe- 
ritance of his heir, succeeding to all his father's 
authority, and becoming upon his death as 
much lord as his father was, not only over his 
own children, but over his brethren, and all 
descended from his father, and so in infinitum. 
But yet who this heir is, he does not once tell 
us ; and all the light we have from him in this 
so fundamental a point, is only, that in his in- 
stance of Jacob, by using the word birth-right, 
as that which passed from Esau to Jacob, he 
haves us to guess, that by heir, he means the 
eldest son; though I do not remember he any 
where mentions expressly the title of the first- 


born, but all along keeps himself under the 
shelter of the indefinite term heir. But taking 
it to be his meaning, that the eldest son is heir, 
(for if the eldest be not, there will be no pre- 
tence why the sons should not be all heirs 
alike) and so by right of primogeniture has 
dominion over his brethren ; this is but one 
step towards the settlement of succession, and 
the difficulties remain still as much as ever, till 
he can shew us who is meant by right heir, in 
all those cases which may happen where the 
present possessor hath no son. This he silently 
passes over, and perhaps wisely too : for what 
can be wiser, after one has affirmed, that the 
person having that power, as icell as the power 
and form of government, is the ordinance of 
God, and by divine institution, vid. Observations, 
254. p. 12. than to be careful, not to start any 
question concerning the person, the resolution 
whereof will certainly lead him into a confes- 
sion, that God and nature hath determined 
nothing about him? And if our author cannot 
shew who by right of nature, or a clear positive 
law of God, has the next right to inherit the 
dominion of this natural monarch he has been 
at such pains about, when he died without a 
son, he might have spared his pains in all the 
rest, it being more necessary for the settling 
men's consciences, and determining their sub- 
jection and allegiance, to shew them who by 
original right, superior and antecedent to the 
will, or any act of men, hath a title to this 


paternal jurisdiction, than it is to shew that by 
nature there was such a jurisdiction; it being 
to no purpose for me to know there is such a 
paternal power, which I ought, and am dis- 
posed to obey, unless, where there are many 
pretenders, I also know the person that is 
rightfully invested and endowed with it. 

<§. 120. For the main matter in question 
being concerning the duty of my obedience, 
and the obligation of conscience I am under to 
pay it to him that is of right my lord and ruler, 
1 must know the person that this right of pater- 
nal power resides in, and so impowers him to 
claim obedience from me: for let it be true 
what he says, p. 12. That civil poiver not only 
in general is by divine institution, but even the 
assignment of it specially to the eldest parents ; 
and Observations, 254. That not only the 
power, or right of government, but the form of 
the power of governing, and the person having 
that power, are all the ordinance of God ; yet 
unless he shew us in all cases, who is this 
person ordained by God, who is this eldest 
parent; all his abstract notions of monarchical 
power will signify just nothing, when they are 
to be reduced to practice, and men are con- 
scientiously to pay their obedience : for paternal 
jurisdiction being not the thing to be obeyed, 
because it cannot command, but is only that 
which gives one man a right which another 
hath not, and if it come by inheritance, another 
man cannot have, to command and be obeyed ; 


it is ridiculous to say, I pay obedience to the 
paternal powe?', when I obey him, to whom 
paternal power gives uo right to my obedience : 
for he can have no divine right to my obedience, 
who cannot shew his divine right to the power 
of ruling over me, as well as that by divine 
right there is such a power in the world. 

<§. 121. And hence not being able to make 
out any princes title to government, as heir to 
Adam, which therefore is of no use, and had 
been better let alone, he is fain to resolve all 
into present possession, and make civil obe- 
dience as due to an usurper, as to a lawful 
king ; and thereby the usurper s title as good. 
His words are, Observations, 253. and they 
deserve to be remembered : If an usurper dis- 
possess the true heir, the subjects obedience to 
the fatherly power must go along, and wait 
upon God's providence. But I shall leave his 
title of usurpers to be examined in its due 
place, and desire my sober reader to consider 
what thanks princes owe such politics as this, 
which can suppose paternal poiver (i. e.) a right 
to government in the hands of a Cade, or a 
Cromwell ; and so all obedience being due to 
paternal power, the obedience of subjects will 
be due to them, by the same right, and upon 
as good grounds, as it is to lawful princes ; 
and yet this, as dangerous a doctrine as it is, 
must necessarily follow from making all politi- 
cal power to be nothing else, but Adam's pa- 
ternal power by right and divine institution, 


descending from him without being able to 
shew to whom it descended, or who is heir to it. 

§. 12*2. To settle government in the world, 
and to lay obligations to obedience on any 
man's conscience, it is necessary (supposing 
with our author that all power be nothing but 
the being possessed of Adams j at her hood) to 
satisfy him, who has a right to this power, this 
fatherhood, when the possessor dies without 
sons to succeed immediately to it, as it was to 
tell him, that upon the death of the father, the 
eldest son had a right to it: for it is still to be 
remembered, that the great question is, (and 
that which our author would be thought to 
contend for, if he did not sometimes forget it) 
what persons have a right to be obeyed, and 
not whether there be a power in the world, 
which is to be called paternal, without knowing 
in whom it resides : for so it be a power, i. e. 
right to govern, it matters not, whether it be 
termed paternal or regal, natural or acquired; 
whether you call it supreme fatherhood, or su- 
preme brotherhood, will be all one, provided we 
know who has it. 

§. 123. I go on then to ask, whether in the 
inheriting of this paternal power, this supreme 
fatherhood, the grandson by a daughter hath a 
right before a nephew by a brother ? Whether 
the grandson by the eldest son, being an infant, 
before the younger son, a man and able? 
\\ hether the daughter before (he uncle ? or any 
other man, descended by a male line? Whether 


a grandson by a young daughter, before a 
grand-daughter by an elder daughter? Whether 
the elder son by a concubine, before a younger 
son by a wife? From whence also will arise 
many questions of legitimation, and what in 
nature is the difference betwixt a wife and a 
concubine? for as to the municipal or positive 
laws of men, they can signify nothing here. 
It may farther be asked, Whether the eldest 
son, being a fool, shall inherit this paternal 
■power, before the younger, a wise man ? and 
what degree of folly it must be that shall ex- 
clude him? and who shall be judge of it? 
Whether the son of a fool, excluded for his 
folly, before the son of his wise brother who 
reigned? Who has the paternal power whilst 
the widow-queen is with child by the deceased 
king, and nobody knows whether it will be a 
son or a daughter? Which shall be heir of the 
two male-twins, who by the dissection of the 
mother were laid open to the world ? Whether 
a sister by the half blood, before a brother's 
daughter by the whole blood ? 

§. 124. These, and many more such doubts, 
might be proposed about the titles of succes- 
sion, and the right of inheritance ; and that not 
as idle speculations, but such as in history we 
shall find have concerned the inheritance of 
crowns and kingdoms; and if ours want them, 
we need not go farther for famous examples of 
it, than the other kingdom in this very island, 
which having been fully related by the ingenious 


and learned author of Patriarcha non Monar- 
ches, I need say no more of. Till our author 
hath resolved all the doubts that may arise 
about the next heir, and shewed that they are 
plainly determined by the law of nature, or the 
revealed law of God, all his suppositions of a 
monarchical, absolute, supreme, paternal power 
in Adam, and the descent of that power to his 
heirs, would not be of the least use to establish 
the authority, or make out the title, of any one 
prince now on earth ; but would rather unsettle 
and bring all into question : for let our author 
tell us as long as he pleases, and let all men 
believe it too, that Adam had a paternal, and 
thereby a monarchical power; that this (the 
on\y power in the world) descended to his heirs; 
and that there is no other power in the world 
but this : let this be all as clear demonstration, 
as it is manifest error, yet if it be not past 
doubt, to whom this paternal power descends, 
and whose now it is, nobody can be under any 
obligation of obedience, unless any one will say, 
that I am bound to pay obedience to paternal 
poiver in a man who has no more paternal power 
than 1 myself; which is all one as to say, I 
obey a man, because he has a right to govern ; 
and if I be asked, how I know he has a right to 
govern, I should answer, it cannot be known, 
that he has any at all : for that cannot be the 
reason of my obedience, which I know not to be 
so ; much less can that be a reason of my obe- 
dience, which nobody at all can know to be so. 


§. 125. And therefore all this ado about 
Adam's fatherhood, the greatness of its power, 
and the necessity of its supposal, helps nothing 
to establish the power of those that govern, or 
to determine the obedience of subjects who 
are to obey, if they cannot tell whom they are 
to obey, or it cannot be known who are to 
govern, and who to obey. In the state the 
world is now, it is irrecoverably ignorant, who 
is Adams heir. This fatherhood, this monar- 
chical power of Adam, descending to his heirs, 
would be of no more use to the government of 
mankind, than it would be to the quieting of 
men's consciences, or securing their healths, if 
our author had assured them, that Adam had 
a power to forgive sins, or cure diseases, which 
by divine institution descended to his heir, 
whilst this heir is impossible to be known. 
And should not he do as rationally, who upon 
this assurance of our author went and confes- 
sed his sins, and expected a good absolution ; 
or took physic with expectation of health, from 
any one who had taken on himself the name 
of priest or physician, or thrust himself into 
those employments, saying, I acquiesce in the 
absolving power descending from Adam, or I 
shall be cured by the medicinal power descend- 
ing from Adam ; as he who says, I submit to 
and obey the paternal power descending from 
Adam, when it is confessed all these powers 
descend only to his single heir, and that heir 
is unknown. 


§. 120. It is true, the civil lawyers have 
pretended to determine some of these cases 
concerning the succession of princes ; but by 
our authors principles, they have meddled in 
a matter that belongs not to them : for if all 
political power be derived only from Adam, 
and be to descend only to his successive heirs, 
by the ordinance of God and divine institution, 
this is a right antecedent and paramount to all 
government; and therefore the positive laws of 
men cannot determine that which is itself the 
foundation of all law and government, and is 
to receive its rule only from the law of God 
and nature. And that being silent in the case, 
I am apt to think there is no such right to be 
conveyed this way : I am sure it would be to 
no purpose if there were, and men would be 
more at a loss concerning government, and 
obedience to governors, than if there were no 
such right ; since by positive laws and compact, 
which divine institution (if there be any) shuts 
out, all these endless inextricable doubts can 
be safely provided against : but it can never be 
understood, how a divine natural right, and 
that of such moment as is all order and peace 
in the world, should be conveyed down to 
posterity, without any plain natural or divine 
rule concerning it. And there would be an 
end of all civil government, if the assignment 
of civil power were by divine institution to the 
heir, and yet by that divine institution the per- 
son of the heir could not be known. This 


paternal regal power being by divine right only 
his, it leaves no room for human prudence, or 
consent, to place it any where else ; for if only 
one man hath a divine right to the obedience of 
mankind, nobody can claim that obedience, 
but he that can shew that right ; nor can men's 
consciences by any other pretence be obliged 
to it. And thus this doctrine cuts up all 
government by the roots. 

§. 127. Thus we see how our author, laying 
it for a sure foundation, that the very person 
that is to rule, is the ordinance of God, and by 
divine institution, tells us at large, only that 
this person is the heir, but who this heir is, he 
leaves us to guess ; and so this divine institu- 
tion, which assigns it to a person whom we 
have no rule to know, is just as good as an 
assignment to nobody at all. But, whatever 
our author does, divine institution makes no 
such ridiculous assignments : nor can God be 
supposed to make it a sacred law, that one 
certain person should have a right to some- 
thing, and yet not give rules to mark out, and 
know that person by, or give an heir a divine 
right to power, and yet not point out who that 
heir is. It is rather to be thought, that an heir 
had no such right by divine institution, than 
that God should give such a right to the heir, 
but yet leave it doubtful and undeterminable 
Avho such heir is. 

§. 128. If God had given the land of Canaan 
to Abraham, and in general terms to some- 


body after him, without naming his seed, 
whereby it might be known who that some- 
body was, it would have been as good and 
useful an assignment, to determine the right 
to the land of Canaan, as it would be the de- 
termining the right of crowns, to give empire 
to Adam and his successive heirs after him, 
without telling who his heir is: for the word 
heir, without a rule to know who it is, signifies 
no more than somebody, I know not whom. 
God making it a divine institution, that men 
should not marry those who were near of kin, 
thinks it not enough to say, None of you shall 
approach to any that is near of kin to him, to 
uncover their nakedness ; but moreover, gives 
rules to know who are those near of kin, for- 
bidden by divine institution; or else that law 
would have been of no use, it being to no 
purpose to lay restraint, or give privileges to 
men, in such general terms, as the particular 
person concerned cannot be known by. But 
God not having any where said, the next heir 
shall inherit all his father's estate or dominion, 
we are not to wonder, that he hath no where 
appointed who that heir should be ; for never 
having intended any such thing, never designed 
any heir in that sense, we cannot expect he 
should any where nominate, or appoint any 
person to it, as we might, had it been otherwise. 
And therefore in scripture, though the word 
heir occur, vet there is no such tiling- as heir 
in our author's sense, one that was by right of 


nature to inherit all that his father had, exclu- 
sive of his brethren. Hence Sarah supposes, 
that if Ishmael staid in the house, to share in 
Abrahams estate after his death, this son of 
a bond-woman might be heir with Isaac ; and 
therefore, says she, cast out this bond-icoman 
and her son, for the son of this bond-woman shall 
iwl be heir with my son : but this cannot excuse 
our author, who telling us there is, in every 
number of men, one who is right and next heir 
to Adam, ought to have told us what the laws 
of descent are ; but he having been so sparing 
to instruct us by rules, how to know who is 
heir, let us see in the next, place, what his 
history out of scripture, on which he pretends 
wholly to build his government, give us in this 
necessary and fundamental point. 

§. 129. Our author, to make good the title 
of his book, p. 13. begins his history of the 
descent of Adam's regal power, p. 13. in these 
words : This lordship which Adam by com- 
ma/id had over the whole world, and by right 
descending from him, the patriarchs did enjoy, 
was a large, &c. How does he prove that the 
patriarchs by descent did enjoy it ? for dominion 
of life and death, says he, we find Judah the 
father pronounced sentence of death against 
Thamar his daughter-in-law for playing the 
harlot, p. 13. How does this prove that Judah 
had absolute and sovereign authority? he pro- 
nounced sentence of death. The pronouncing 
of sentence of death is not a certain mark of 


sovereignty, but usually the office of inferior 
magistrates. The power of making laws of 
life and death is indeed a mark of sovereignty, 
but pronouncing the sentence according to 
those laws may be done by others, and there- 
fore this will but ill prove that he had sovereign 
authority : as if one should say, Judge Jefferies 
pronounced sentence of death in the late times, 
therefore Judge Jefferies had sovereign autho- 
rity. But it will be said, Judah did it not by 
commission from another, and therefore did 
it in his own right. Who knows whether he 
had any right at all? Heat of passion might 
carry him to do that which he had no authority 
to do. Judah had dominion of life and death : 
how does that appear? He exercised it, he 
pronounced sentence of death against Thamar : 
our author thinks it is very good proof, that 
because he did it, therefore he had a right to 
do it : he lay with her also : by the same way 
of proof, he had a right to do that too. If the 
consequence be good from doing to a right 
of doing, Absalom too may be reckoned 
amongst our author's sovereigns, for he pro- 
nounced such a sentence of death against his 
brother Amnon, and much upon a like occasion, 
and had it executed too, if that be sufficient to 
prove a dominion of life and death. 

But allowing this all to be clear demonstra- 
tion of sovereign power, who was it that had 
this lordship by right descending to him from 
Adam, as large and ample as the absolutcst 



dominion of any monarch? Judah, says ouv 
author, Judah, a younger son of Jacob, his 
father and elder brethren living ; so that if our 
author's own proof be to be taken, a younger 
brother may, in the life of his father and elder 
brothers, by right of descent, enjoy Adam's 
monarchical power; and if one so qualified 
may be monarch by descent, why may not 
every man? If Judah, his father and elder 
brother living, were one of Adams heirs, I 
know not who can be excluded from this 
inheritance; all men by inheritance may be 
monarchs as well as Judah. 

§. 130. 'Touching war, we see that Abraham 
commanded an army of three hundred and 
eighteen soldiers of his own family, and Esau 
met his brother Jacob with four hundred men 
at arms: for matter of peace, Abraham made 
a league with Abimelech, Src. p. 13. Is it not 
possible for a man to have three hundred and 
eighteen men in his family, without being heir 
to Adam? A planter in the West Indies has 
more, and might, if he pleased, (who doubts?) 
muster them up and lead them out against the 
Indians, to seek reparation upon any injury 
received from them ; and all this without the 
absolute dominion of a monarch, descending to 
him from Adam. Would it not be an ad- 
mirable argument to prove, that all power by 
God's institution descended from Adam by 
inheritance, and that the very person and 
power of this planter were the ordinance of God, 


because he had power in his family over ser- 
vants, horn in his house, and bought with his 
money? For this was just Abraham's case; 
Ihose who were rich in the patriarch's days, 
as in the West Indies now, bought men and 
maid servants, and by their increase, as well 
as purchasing- of new, came to have large and 
numerous families, which though they made 
use of in war or peace, can it be thought the 
power they had over them was an inheritance 
descended from Adam, when it was the pur- 
chase of their money? A man's riding in an 
expedition against an enemy, his horse bought 
in a fair would be as good a proof that the 
owner enjoyed the lordship which Adam by 
command had over the whole world, by right 
of descending to him, as Abrahams leading out 
the servants of his family is, that the patriarchs 
enjoyed this lordship by descent from Adam : 
since the title to the power, the master had 
in both cases, whether over slaves or horses, 
was only from his purchase ; and the getting 
a dominion over any thing by bargain and 
money, is a new way of proving one had it by 
descent and inheritance. 

§. 131. 13 Hi making tear and peace are marks 
of sovereignty. Let it be so in politic socie- 
ties: may not therefore a man in the West 
Indies, who hath with him sons of his own, 
friends, or companions, soldiers under pay, or 
slaves bought with money, or perhaps a band 
made up all of these, make war and peace, if 

l 2 


there should be occasion, and ratify the articles 
too with an oath, without being a sovereign, an 
absolute king over those who went with him ? 
He that says he cannot, must then allow many 
masters of ships, many private planters, to be 
absolute monarchs, for as much as this they 
have done. War and peace cannot be made 
for politic societies, but by the supreme power 
of such societies ; because war and peace, 
giving a different motion to the force of such a 
politic body, none can make war or peace, but 
that which has the direction of the force of the 
whole body, and that in politic societies is only 
the supreme power. In voluntary societies for 
the time, he that has such a power by consent, 
may make war and peace, and so may a single 
man for himself, the state of war not consisting 
in the number of jJartisans, but the enmity of 
the parties, where they have no superior to 
appeal to. 

§. 132. The actual making of war or peace, 
is no proof of any other power, but only of 
disposing those to exercise or cease acts of 
enmity for whom he makes it ; and this power 
in many cases any one may have without any 
politic supremacy : and therefore the making 
of war or peace will not prove that every one 
that does so is a politic ruler, much less a king ; 
for then commonwealths must be kings too, 
for they do as certainly make war and peace 
as monarchical government. 

§. 133. But granting this a mark of sove- 


reignty in Abraham, it is a proof of the descent 
to him of Adam's sovereignty over the whole 
world? If it be, it will surely be as good a 
proof of the descent of Adam's lordship to 
other's too. And then commonwealths, as 
well as Abraham, will be heirs of Adam, for 
they make ivar and peace, as well as he. If 
you say, that the lordship of Adam doth not by 
right descend to commonwealths, though they 
make war and peace, the same say I of Abra- 
ham, and then there is an end of your argu- 
ment : if you stand to your argument, and say 
those that do make war and peace, as com- 
monwealths do without doubt, do inherit 
Adam's lordship, there is an end of your mo- 
narchy, unless you will say, that common- 
wealths by descent enjoying Adam's lordship 
are monarchies ; and that indeed would be a 
new way of making all the governments in the 
world monarchical. 

<§. 134. To give our author the honour of 
this new invention, for I confess it is not I have 
first found it out by tracing his principles, and 
so charged it on him, it is fit my readers know 
that (as absurd as it may seem) he teaches it 
himself, p. 23. where he ingenuously says, In 
all kingdoms and commonwealths in the world, 
whether the prince be the supreme father of the 
people, or but the true heir to such a father, or 
come to the crown by usurpation or election, or 
whether some few or a multitude govern the 


commonwealth; yet still the authority that is in 
any one, or in many, or in all these, is the only 
right, and natural authority of a supreme father ; 
which right of fatherhood, he often tells us, is 
regal and royal authority; as particularly, p. 
12. the page immediately preceding this instance 
of Abraham. This regal authority, he says, 
those that govern commonwealths have; and 
if it be true, that regal and royal authority be 
in those that govern commonwealths, it is as 
true that commonwealths are governed by 
kings ; for if regal authority be in him that go- 
verns, he that governs must needs be a king, 
and so all commonwealths are nothing but 
downright monarchies ; and then what need 
any more ado about the matter ? The govern- 
ments of the world are as they should be, there 
is nothing but monarchy in it. This, without 
doubt, was the surest way our author could 
have found, to turn all other governments, but 
monarchical, out of the world. 

^. 13-5. But all this scarce proves Abraham 
to have been a king as heir to Adam. If by 
inheritance he had been king, Lot, who was 
of the same family, must needs have been his 
subject, by that title, before the servants in his 
family ; but we see they lived as friends and 
equals, and when their herdsmen could not 
agree, there was no pretence of jurisdiction or 
superiority between them, but they parted by 
consent, Gen. xiii. hence he is called both by 


Abraham, and by the text, Abrahams brother, 
the name of friendship and equality, and not 
of jurisdiction and authority, though he were 
really but his nephew. And if our author 
knows that Abraham was Adams heir, and a 
king-, it was more, it seems, than Abraham 
himself knew, or his servant whom he sent a 
wooing for his son ; for when he sets out the 
advantages of the match, Gen. xxiv. 35. there- 
by to prevail with the young woman and her 
friends, he says, / am Abraham's servant, and 
the Lord hath blessed my master greatly, and he 
is become great; and he hath given him flocks 
and herds, and silver and gold, and men-ser- 
vants and maid-servants, and camels and asses : 
and Sarah, my master s wife, bare a son to my 
master when she teas old, and unto him hath he 
given all he hath. Can one think that a dis- 
creet servant that was thus particular to set out 
his master's greatness, would have omitted the 
crown Isaac was to have, if he had known of 
any such? Can it be imagined he should have 
neglected to have told them on such an occa- 
sion as this, that Abraham was a king, a name 
well known at that time, for he had nine of 
them his neighbours, if he or his master had 
thought any such thing, the likeliest matter of 
all the rest, to make his errand successful ? 

§. 136. But this discovery it seems was re- 
served for our author to make two or three 
thousand years after, and let him enjoy the 
credit of it; only he should have taken care 


that some of Adam's land should have de- 
scended to this bis heir, as well as all Adam's 
lordship : for though this lordship which Abra- 
ham, (if we may believe our author) as well as 
the other patriarchs, by right descending to him 
did enjoy, ivas as large and ample as the abso- 
lutest dominion of any monarch which hath been 
since the creation ; yet his estate, his territories, 
his dominions were very narrow and scanty, for 
he had not the possession of a foot of land, till 
he bought a field and a cave of the sons of 
Heth to bury Sarah in. 

§. 137. The instance of Esau joined with 
this of Abraham, to prove that the lordship 
which Adam had over the whole icorld, by right 
descending from him, the patriarchs did enjoy, 
is yet more pleasant than the former. Esau 
met his brother Jacob with four hundred men at 
arms : he therefore was a king by right of heir 
to Adam. Four hundred armed men then, 
however got together, are enough to prove him 
that leads them, to be a king and Adams heir. 
There have been tories in Ireland, (whatever 
there are in other countries) who would have 
thanked our author for so honourable an opi- 
nion of them, especially if there had been no- 
body near with a better title of five hundred 
armed men, to question their royal authority of 
four hundred. It is a shame for men to trifle 
so, to say no worse of it, in so serious an argu- 
ment. Here Esau is brought as a proof that 
Adams lordship, Adams absolute dominion, as 


huge as that of any monarch, descended by right 
to the patriarchs, and in this very chap. p. 19. 
Jacob is brought as an instance of one, that by 
birth-right ivas lord over his brethren. So we 
have here two brothers absolute monarchs by 
the same title, and at the same time heirs to 
Adam, the eldest, heir to Adam, because he 
met his brother with four hundred men ; and 
the youngest, heir to Adam by birth-right. 
Esau enjoyed the lordship ivhich Adam had 
over the ivhole world by right descending to him 
in as large and ample manner, as the absolutest 
dominion of any monarch ; and at the same 
time, Jacob lord over him, by the right heirs 
have to be lords over their brethren. JRismn 
tcneatis ? I never, I confess, met with any man 
of parts so dexterous as Sir Robert at this way 
of arguing: but it was his misfortune to light 
upon an hypothesis, that could not be accom- 
modated to the nature of things, and humau 
affairs ; his principles could not be made to 
agree with that constitution and order, which 
God had settled in the world, and therefore 
must needs often clash with common sense and 

§. 138. In the next section, he tells us This 
patriarchal power continued not only till the 
flood, but after it, as the name patriarch doth 
in part prove. The word patriarch doth more 
than in part prove, that patriarchal power 
continued in the world as long as there were 
patriarchs, for it is necessary that patriarchal 


power should be whilst there are patriarchs ; 
as it is necessary there should be paternal or 
conjugal power whilst there are fathers or 
husbands ; but this is but playing with names. 
That which he would fallaciously insinuate is 
the thing in question to be proved, viz. that the 
lordship which Adam had over the ivorld, the 
supposed absolute universal dominion of Adam 
by right descending Jrom him, the patriarchs 
did enjoy. If he affirms such an absolute 
monarchy continued to the flood, in the world, 
I would be glad to know what records he has 
it from ; for I confess I cannot find a word 
of it in my Bible: if by patriarchal potter he 
means any thing else; it is nothing to the 
matter in hand. And how the name patriarch 
in some part proves, that those, who are 
called by that name, had absolute monarchical 
power, I confess, I do not see, and therefore I 
think needs no answer till the argument from 
it be made out a little clearer. 

§. 139. The three sons of Noah had the 
world, says our author, divided amongst them 
by their father, for of them ivas the whole 
world overspread, p. 14. The world might be 
overspread by the offspring of Noah's sons, 
though he never divided the world amongst 
them ; for the earth might be replenished 
without being divided : so that all our author's 
argument here proves no such division. How- 
ever, 1 allow it to him, and then ask, the 
world being divided amongst them, which of 


the three was Adams heir \ If Adams lordship, 
Adam's monarchy, by right descended only to 
the eldest, then the other two could be but his 
subjects, his slaves : if by right it descended to 
all three brothers, by the same right, it will 
descend to all mankind ; and then it will be 
impossible what he says, p. 19. that heirs are 
lords of their brethren, should be true ; but 
all brothers, and consequently all men, will 
be equal and independent, all heirs to Adam's 
monarchy, and consequently all monarchs too, 
one as much as another. But it will be said, 
Noah their father divided the world amongst 
them ; so that our author will allow more to 
Noah, than he will to God Almighty, for 
Observations, 211. he thought it hard, that 
God himself should give the world to Noah 
and his sons, to the prejudice of Noah's birth- 
right: his words are, Noah was left sole heir 
to the world: ivhy should it be thought that 
God would disinherit him of his birth-right, 
and make him, of all men in the world, the only 
tenant in common with his children? and yet 
here he thinks it fit that Noah should disin- 
herit Shem of his birth-right, and divide the 
world betwixt him and his brethren ; so that 
this birth-right, when our author pleases, must, 
and when he pleases must not, be sacred and 

§. 140. If Noah did divide the world be- 
tween his sons, and his assignment of do- 
minions to them were good, there is an end of 


divine institution; all our author's discourse 
of Adam's heir, with whatsoever he builds on 
it, is quite out of doors ; the natural power of 
kings falls to the ground ; and then the form 
of the power governing, and the person having 
that power, will not be (as he says they are, 
Observations, 254) the ordinance of God, but 
they will be ordinances of man : for if the right 
of the heir be the ordinance of God, a divine 
right, no man, father or not father, can alter it : 
if it be not a divine right, it is only human, 
depending on the will of man : and so where 
human institution gives it not, the first-born 
has no right at all above his brethren ; and 
men may put government into what hands, and 
under what form, they please. 

§. 141. He goes on, Most of the civilest na- 
tions of the earth labour to fetch their original 
from some of the sons, or nephews of Noah, 
p. 14. How many do most of the civilest 
nations amount to? and who are they? I fear 
the Chineses, a very great and civil people, 
as well as several other people of the East, 
West, North and South, trouble not themselves 
much about this matter. All that believe the 
Bible, which I believe are our author's most 
of the civilest nations, must necessarily derive 
themselves from Noah : but for the rest of the 
world, they think little of his sons or nephews. 
But if the heralds and antiquaries of all na- 
tions, for it is these men generally that labour to 
find out the originals of nations, or all the 


nations themselves, should labour to fetch their 
original from some of the sons or nephews of 
Noah, what would this be to prove, that the 
lordship which Adam had over the whole world, 
by right descended to the patriarchs ? Whoever, 
nations, or races of men, labour to fetch their 
original from, maybe concluded to be thought 
by them, men of renown, famous to posterity, 
for the greatness of their virtues and actions ; 
but beyond these they look not, nor consider 
who they were heirs to, but look on them as 
such as raised themselves, by their own virtue, 
to a degree that would give a lustre to those 
who in future ages could pretend to derive 
themselves from them. But if it were Ogyges, 
Hercules, JBrama, Tamerlane, Pharamond; nay, 
if Jupiter and Saturn were the names from 
whence divers races of men, both ancient and 
modern, have laboured to derive their original ; 
will that prove, that those men enjoyed the lord- 
ship of Adam, by right descending to them? 
If not, this is but a flourish of our author's 
to mislead his reader, that in itself signifies 

§. 142. To as much purpose is what he tells 
us, p. 15. concerning this division of the world, 
That some say it was by Lot, and others that 
Noah sailed round the Mediterranean in ten 
yearSy and divided the world into Asia, Afric and 
Europe, portions for his three sons. America 
then, it seems, was left to be his that could catch 
it. Why our author takes such pains to prove the 


division of the world by Noah to his sons, and 
will not leave out an imagination, though no 
better than a dream, that he can find any where 
to favour it, is hard to guess, since such a 
division, if it prove any thing, must necessarily 
take away the title of Adam's heir; unless 
three brothers can all together be heirs of 
Adam ; and therefore the following words, 
Howsoever the manner of this division be un- 
certain, yet it is most certain the division itself 
was by families from Noah and his children, 
over which the parents were heads and princes, 
p. 1-5. if allowed him to be true, and of any 
force to prove, that all the power in the world 
is nothing but the lordship of Adam's descend- 
ing by right, they will only prove, that the fa- 
thers of the children are all heirs to this lord- 
ship of Adam: for if in those days Cham and 
Japhet, and other parents, besides the eldest 
son, were heads and princes over their fami- 
milies, and had a right to divide the earth by 
families, what hinders younger brothers, being 
fathers of families, from having the same right? 
If Cham and Japhet were princes by right 
descending to them, notwithstanding any title 
of heir in their eldest brother, younger brothers 
by the same right descending to them are 
princes now; and so all our author's natural 
power of kings will reach no farther than their 
own children, and no kingdom, by this natural 
right, can be bigger than a family : for either this 
lordship of Adam over the whole world, by right 


descends only to the eldest son, and then there 
can be but one heir, as our author says, p. 19. 
or else, it by right descends to all the sons 
equally, and then every father of a family will 
have it, as well as the three sons of Noah : 
take which you will, it destroys the present 
governments and kingdoms, that are now in 
the world, since whoever has this natural 
power of a king, by right descending to him, 
must have it, either as our author tells us Cain 
had it, and be lord over his brethren, and so 
be alone king of the whole world ; or else, as 
he tells us here, S/iem, Cham and Japhet had it, 
three brothers, and so be only prince of his 
own family, and alt families independent one 
of another: all the world must be only one 
empire by the right of the next heir, or else 
every family be a distinct government of itself, 
by the lordship of Adam's descending to pa- 
rents of families. And to this only tend all 
the proofs he here gives us of the descent of 
Adams lordship : for continuing his story of 
this descent, he says, 

§. 143. In the dispersion of Babel, ice must 
certainly find the establishment of royal power, 
throughout the kingdoms of the world, p. 14. 
If you must find it, pray do, and you will help 
us to a new piece of history: but you must 
shew it us before we shall be bound to believe, 
that regal power was established in the world 
upon your principles : for, that regal power was 
established in the kingdoms of the world, I 


think nobody will dispute ; but that there 
should be kingdoms in the world, whose se- 
veral kings enjoyed their crowns, by right de- 
scending to them from Adam, that we think not 
only Apocryphal, but also utterly impossible. 
If our author has no better foundation for his 
monarchy than a supposition of what was done 
at the dispersion of Babel, the monarchy he 
erects thereon, whose top is to reach to heaven 
to unite mankind, will serve only to divide and 
scatter them as that tower did ; and, instead of 
establishing civil government and order in the 
world, will produce nothing but confusion. 

§. 144. For he tells us, the nations they were 
divided into, were distinct families, which had 
fathers for rulers over them ; whereby it appears, 
that even in the confusion , God was careful to 
preserve the fatherly authority, by distributing 
the diversity of languages according to the 
diversity of families, p. 14. It would have 
been a hard matter for any one but our author 
to have found out so plainly, in the text he here 
brings, that all the nations in that dispersion 
were governed by father s, and that God was 
careful to preserve the fatherly authority. The 
words of the text are ; These are the sons of 
Shem after their families, ajter their tongues 
in their lands, ajter their nations; and the 
same thing is said of Cham and Japhet, after 
an enumeration of their posterities ; in all 
which there is not one word said of their go- 
vernors, or forms of government; of fathers, 


or fatherly authority. But our author, who is 
very quick sighted to spy out fatherhood, 
where nobody else could see any the least 
glimpses of it, tells us positively their riders 
were fathers, and God was careful to preserve 
the fatherly authority; and why? Because 
those of the same family spoke the same lan- 
guage, and so of necessity in the division kept 
together. Just as if one should argue thus 
Hannibal in his army, consisting of divers 
nations, kept those of the same language to- 
gether ; therefore fathers were captains of each 
band, and Hannibal was careful of the fatherly 
authority: or in peopling of Carolina, the En- 
glish, French, Scotch and Welch that are there, 
plant themselves together, and by them the 
country is divided in their lands ajter their 
tongues, after their families, after their nations; 
therefore care was taken of the fatherly autho- 
rity : or because, in many parts of America, 
every little tribe was a distinct people, with a 
different language, one should infer, that there- 
fore God was careful to preserve the fatherly 
authority, or that therefore their rulers enjoyed 
Adam's lordship by right descending to them, 
though we know not who were their governors, 
nor what their form of government, but only 
that they were divided into little independent 
societies, speaking different languages. 

<§. 145. The scripture says not a word of 
their rulers or forms of government, but only 
gives an account, how mankind came to be 



divided into distinct languages and nations, and 
therefore it is not to argue from the authority 
of scripture, to tell us positively, fathers were 
their rulers, when the scripture says no such 
thing ; but to set up fancies of one's own brain, 
when we confidently aver matter of fact, 
where records are utterly silent. Upon a like 
ground, i. e. none at all, he says, That they 
were not confused multitudes without heads and 
governors, and at liberty to choose what gover- 
nors or governments they pleased. 

§. 14(3. For I demand, when mankind were 
all yet of one language, all congregated in the 
plain of Shinar, were they then all under one 
monarch, who enjoyed the lordship of Adam by 
right descending to him? If they were not, 
there were then no thoughts, it is plain, of 
Adam's heir, no right of government known 
then upon that title ; no care taken, by God 
or man, of Adam's fatherly authority. If 
when mankind were but one people, dwelt all 
together, and were of one language, and were 
upon building a city together; and when it 
was plain, they could not but know the right 
heir, for Shem lived till Isaac s time, a long 
while after the division at Babel; if then, I 
say, they were not under the monarchical go- 
vernment of Adams fatherhood, by right de- 
scending to the heir, it is plain there was no 
regard had to the fatherhood, no monarchy 
acknowledged due to Adam's heir, no empire 
of Shems in Asia, and consequently no such 


division of the world by Noah, as our author 
has talked of. As far as we can conclude any 
thing from scripture in this matter, it seems 
from this place, that if they had any govern- 
ment, it was rather a commonwealth than an 
absolute monarchy : for the scripture tells us, 
Gen. xi. They said: it was not a prince com- 
manded the building of this city and tower, it 
was not by the command of one monarch, but 
by the consultation of many, a free people ; let 
us build us a city : they built it for themselves 
as free-men, not as slaves for their lord and 
master : that ive be not scattered abroad ; having 
a city once built, and fixed habitations to 
settle our abodes and families. This was the 
consultation and design of a people, that were 
at liberty to part asunder, but desired to keep 
in one body, and could not have been either 
necessary or likely in men tied together under 
the government of one monarch, who if they 
had been, as our author tells us, all slaves 
under the absolute dominion of a monarch, 
needed not have taken such care to hinder 
themselves from wandering out of the reach of 
his dominion. I demand whether this be not 
plainer in scripture than any thing of Adams 
heir or fatherly authority ? 

§. 147. But if being, as God says, Gen. xi. 6. 
one people, they had one ruler, one king by 
natural right, absolute and supreme over them, 
what care had God to preserve the paternal 
authority of the supreme fatherhood, if on a 

M 2 


sudden lie suffer seventy-two (for so many our 
author talks of) distinct nations to be erected 
out of it, under distinct governors, and at once 
to withdraw themselves from the obedience of 
their sovereign? This is to intitle God's carehow, 
and to what we please. Can it be sense to say, 
that God was careful to preserve the fatherly 
authority in those who had it not? for if these 
were subjects under a supreme prince, what 
authority had they ? Was it an instance of 
God's care to preserve the fatherly authority, 
when he took away the true supreme father- 
hood of the natural monarch ? Can it be reason 
to say, that God, for the preservation of father- 
ly authority, lets several new governments with 
their governors start up, w ho could not all have 
fatherly authority? And is it not as much 
reason to say, that God is careful to destroy 
fatherly authority, when he suffers one, who is 
in possession of it, to have his government torn 
in pieces, and shared by several of his subjects? 
Would it not be an argument just like this, for 
monarchical government to say, when any mo- 
narchy was shattered to pieces, and divided 
amongst revolted subjects, that God was care- 
ful to preserve monarchical power, by rending 
a settled empire into a multitude of little go- 
vernments? If any one will say, that what hap- 
pens in providence to be preserved, God is 
careful to preserve as a thing therefore to be 
esteemed by men as necessary or useful, it is 
a peculiar propriety of speech, which every 


one a\ ill not think fit to imitate: but this 1 am 
sdre is impossible to be cither proper, or true 
speaking, that Shem, for example, (for he was 
then alive,) should have fatherly authority, or 
sovereignty by right of fatherhood, over that, 
one people at Babel, and that the next moment, 
Shem yet living, seventy-two others should 
have fatherly authority, or sovereignty by right 
of fatherhood, over the same people, divided 
into so many distinct governments: either these 
seventy-two fathers actually were rulers, just 
before the confusion, and then they were not 
one people, but that God himself says they 
Were-; or else they were a commonwealth, and 
then* where was monarchy ? or else these 
seventy-two fathers had fatherly authority, but 
knew it not. Strange! that fatherly authority 
should be the only original of government 
amongst men, and yet all mankind not know 
it; and stranger yet, that the confusion of ton- 
gues should reveal it to them all of a sudden, 
that in an instant these seventy-two should 
know that they had jalherhj power, and all 
others know that they were to obey it in them, 
and every one know that particular fatherly 
authority to which he was a subject. He that 
can think this arguing from scripture, may from 
thence make out what model of an Utopia will 
best suit with his fancy or interest; and this 
fatherhood, thus disposed of, will justify both 
a prince who claims an universal monarchy^ 
and his subjects, who. being fathers of families, 


shall quit all subjection to him, and canton his 
empire into less governments for themselves ; 
for it will always remain a doubt in which of 
these the fatherly authority resided, till our 
author resolves us, wheher Shem, who was then 
alive, or these seventy-two new princes, begin- 
ning so many new empires in his dominions, 
and over his subjects, had right to govern, 
since our author tells us, that both one and the 
other had fatherly \ t which is supreme authority, 
and are brought in by him as instances of 
those who did enjoy the lordships of Adam by 
right descending to them, which was as large 
and ample as the absolulest dominion of any 
monarch. This at least is unavoidable,' that 
if God ivas careful to preserve the fatherly au- 
thority, in the seventy-two new-erected nations, 
it necessarily follows, that he was as careful 
to destroy all pretences of Adam's heir ; since 
he took care, and therefore did preserve the 
fatherly authority in so many, at least seventy- 
one, that could not possibly be Adams heirs, 
when the right heir (if God had ever ordained 
any such inheritance) could not but be known, 
Shem then living, and they being all one 

§. 148. Nimrod is his next instance of en- 
joying this patriarchal power, p. 16. but I 
know not for what reason our author seems a 
little unkind to him, and says, that he against 
right enlarged his empire, by seizing violently 
on the rights of other lords of families. These 


lords of families here were called fathers of 
families, in his account of the dispersion at 
Babel: but it matters not how they were 
called, so we know who they are; for this 
fatherly authority must be in them, either as 
heirs to Adam, and so there could not be 
seventy-two, nor above one at once ; or else 
as natural parents over their children, and so 
every father will ha? e paternal authority over 
his children by the same right, and in as large 
extent as those seventy-two had, and so be 
independent princes over their own offspring. 
Taking his lords of families in this latter sense, 
(as it is hard to give those words any other 
sense in this place) he gives us a very pretty 
account of the original of monarchy, in these 
following words, p. 16. And in this sense he 
may be said to be the author and founder of 
monarchy, viz. As against right seizing vio- 
lently on the rights of fathers over their chil- 
dren; which paternal authority, if it be in 
them, by right of nature, (for else how could 
tiiose seventy-two come by it ?) nobody can 
take from them without their own consents; 
and then 1 desire our author and his friends 
to consider, how far this will concern other 
princes, and whether it will not, according to 
his conclusion of that paragraph, resolve all 
regal power of those, whose dominions extend 
beyond their families, either into tyranny and 
usurpation, or election and consent of fathers 


of families, which will differ very little from 
consent of the people. 

§. 149. All his instances, in the next section, 
p. 17. of the twelve dukes of Edom, the nine 
kings in a little corner of Asia in Abraham's 
days, the thirty-one kings in Canaan destroyed 
by Joshua, and the care he takes to prove that 
these were all sovereign princes, and that 
every town in those days had a king, are so 
many direct proofs against him, that it was 
not the lordship of Adam by right descending 
to them, that made kings : for if they had held 
their royalties by that title, either their must 
have been but one sovereign over them all, or 
else every father of a family had been as good 
a prince, and had as good a claim to royalty, 
as these : for if all the sons of Esau had each 
of them, the younger as well as the eldest, 
the right of father hood, and so were sovereign 
princes after their father's death, the same right 
had their sons after them, and so on to all 
posterity; which will limit all the natural 
power of fatherhood, only to be over the issue 
of their own bodies, and their descendents ; 
which power of fatherhood dies with the head 
of each family, and makes way for the like 
power of fatherhood to take place in each 
of his sons over their respective posterities : 
whereby the power of fatherhood will be pre- 
served indeed, and is intelligible, but will not 
be at all to our author's purpose. None of 
flic instances he brings arc proofs of any power 


they had, as heirs of Adam's paternal authority 
by the title of his fatherhood descending to 
them; no, nor of any power they had by virtue 
of their own : for Adam's fatherhood being" over 
all mankind, it could descend but to one at 
once, and from him to his right heir only, and 
so there could by that title be but one king in 
the world at a time: and by right of father- 
hood, not descending from Adam, it must be 
only as they themselves were fathers, and so 
could be over none but their own posterity. 
So that if those twelve dukes of Edom; if 
Abraham and the nine kings his neighbours; 
if Jacob and Esau, and the thirty-one kings in 
Canaan, the seventy-two kings mutilated by 
Adonibcseck, the thirty-two kings that came to 
J3enhadad, the seventy kings of Greece making 
war at Troy, were, as our author contends, all 
of them sovereign princes ; it is evident that 
kings derived their power from some other 
original than fatherhood, since some of these 
had power over more than their own posterity; 
and it is demonstration, they could not be all 
heirs to Adam; for 1 challenge any man to 
make any pretence to power by right of father- 
hood, either intelligible or possible in any one, 
otherwise than either as Adams heir, or as 
progenitor over his own descendents, naturally 
sprung from him. And if our author could 
shew that any one of these princes, of which 
he gives us here so large a catalogue, had his 
authority by either of these titles, 1 think I 


might yield him the cause; though it is mani- 
fest they are all impertinent, and directly 
contrary to what be brings them to prove, viz. 
That the lordship which Adam had over the 
world by right descended to the patriarchs. 

§. 150. Having told us, p. 16. That the 
patriarchal government continued in Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob, until the Egyptian bondage, 
p. 17. he tells us, J3y manifest footsteps we may 
trace this paternal government unto the Israelites 
coming* into Egypt, where the exercise of su- 
preme patriarchal government was intermitted, 
because they ivere in subjection to a stronger 
prince. What these footsteps are of paternal 
government, in our author's sense, i. e. of ab- 
solute monarchical power descending from 
Adam, and exercised by right of fatherhood, 
we have seen, that is for 2290 years no foot- 
steps at all ; since in all that time he cannot 
produce any one example of any person who 
claimed or exercised regal authority by right 
of fatherhood ; or shew any one who being a 
king was Adams heir: all that his proofs 
amount to, is only this, that there were fathers, 
patriarchs and kings, in that age of the world ; 
but that the fathers and patriarchs had any 
absolute arbitrary power, or by what titles 
those kings had theirs, and of what extent it 
was, the scripture is wholly silent; it is mani- 
fest by right of fatherhood they neither did, 
nor could claim any title to dominion and 


§. 151. To say, that the exercise of supreme 
•patriarchal government ivas intermitted, because 
they were in subjection to a stronger prince, 
proves nothing but what 1 before suspected, 
viz. That patriarchal jurisdiction or govern- 
ment is a fallacious expression, and does not 
in our author signify (what he would yet in- 
sinuate by it) paternal and regal power, such 
an absolute sovereignty as he supposes was in 

§. 152. For how can he say that patriarchal 
jurisdiction was intermitted in .Egypt, where 
there was a king, under whose regal govern- 
ment the Israelites were, if patriarchal were 
absolute monarchical jurisdiction? And if it were 
not, but something else, why does he make 
such ado about a power not in question, and 
nothing to the purpose ? The exercise of patri- 
archal jurisdiction, if patriarchal be regal, was 
not intermitted whilst the Israelites were in 
Egypt. It is true, the exercise of regal power 
was not then in the hands of any of the pro- 
mised seed of Abraham, nor before neither that 
I know ; but what is that to the intermission 
of regal authority, as descending from Adam, 
unless our author will have it, that this chosen 
line of Abraham had the right of inheritance to 
Adams lordship ? aud then to what purpose 
are his instances of the seventy-two rulers, in 
whom the fatherly authority was preserved in 
the confusion at Babel ? Why does he bring 
the twelve princes sons of Jshmael, and the 


dukes of Edom, and join them with Abraham, 
Isaac and Jacob, as examples of the exercise 
of true patriarchal government, if the exercise 
of patriarchal jurisdiction were intermitted in 
the world, whenever the heirs of Jacob had not 
supreme power? I fear, supreme patriarchal 
jurisdiction was not only intermitted, but from 
the time of the Egyptian bondage quite lost in 
the world, since it will be hard to find, from 
that time downwards, any one who exercised 
it as an inheritance descending to him from 
the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 1 
imagined monarchical government would have 
served his turn in the hands of Pharaoh, or 
any body. But one cannot easily discover in 
all places what his discourse tends to, as par- 
ticularly in this place it is not obvious to 
guess what he drives at, when he says, the 
exercise of supreme patriarchal jurisdiction in 
Egypt, or how this serves to make out the de- 
scent of Adams lordship to the patriarchs, or 
any body else. 

§. 153. For I thought he had been giving us 
out of scripture, proofs and examples of mo- 
narchical government, founded on paternal au- 
thority, descending from Adam; and not an 
history of the Jcivs : amongst whom yet we 
find no kings, till many years after they were 
a people : and when kings were their rulers, 
there is not the least mention or room for a 
pretence that they were heirs to Adam, or 
kings by paternal authority. I expected, talk- 


ing so much as ho does of scripture, that he 
would have produced thence a series of mo- 
narch*, whose titles were clear to Adam's 
fatherhood, and who, as heirs to him, owned 
and exercised paternal jurisdietion over their 
subjects, and that this was the true patriarchi- 
cal government; whereas he neither proves, 
that the patriarchs were kings ; nor that either 
kings or patriarchs were heirs to Adam, or so 
much is pretended to it: and one may as well 
prove, that the patriarchs were all absolute 
monarchs ; that the power both of patriarchs 
and kings was only paternal ; and that this 
power descended to them from Adam: I say 
all these propositions may be as well proved 
by a confused account of a multitude of little 
kings in the West- Indies, out of Ferdinando 
Soto, or any of our late histories of the Nor- 
thern America, or by our author's seventy 
kings of Greece, out of Homer, as by any thing 
he brings out of scripture, in that multitude of 
kings he has reekoned up. 

§. 154. And methinks he should have let 
Homer and his wars of Troy alone, since his 
great zeal to truth or monarchy carried him to 
such a pitch of transport against philosophers 
and poets, that he tells us in his preface, that 
there are too many in these days, who please 
themselves in running after the opinions of phi- 
losophers and poets, to find out such an original 
of government, as might promise them some 
title to liberty, to the great scandal of Christi- 


unity, and bringing in of atheism. And yet 
these heathens, philosopher Aristotle, and poet 
Homer, are not rejected by our zealous Chris- 
tian politician, whenever they offer any thing 
that seems to serve his turn ; -whether to the 
great scandal of Christianity and bringing in 
of atheism, let him look. This I cannot but 
observe, in authors who it is visible -write not 
for truth, how ready zeal for interest and party 
is to entitle Christianity to their designs, and 
to charge atheism on those who will not with- 
out examining submit to their doctrines, and 
blindly swallow their nonsense. 

But to return to his scripture history, our au- 
thor farther tells us, p. 18. that ajter the return 
of Me Israelites out of bondage, God, out of a 
special care of them, chose Moses and Joshua 
successively to govern as princes in the place and 
stead of the supreme fathers. If it be true, that 
they returned out of bondage', it must be into a 
state of freedom, and must imply that both 
before and after this bondage they were free, 
unless our author will sav, that chanirina: of 
masters is returning out of bondage; or that 
a slave returns out of bondage, when he is 
removed from one galley to another. If then 
they returned out of bondage, it is plain that in 
those days, whatever our author in his preface 
says to the contrary, there were difference 
between a son, a subject and a slave; and that 
neither the patriarchs before, nor their rulers 
after this Egyptian bondage, numbered their 


softs or subjects amongst their possessions, and 
disposed of them with as absolute a dominion, 
as they did their other goods. 

§. 155. This is evident in Jacob, to whom 
Reuben offered his two sons as pledges ; and 
Judah was at last surety for Benjamins safe 
return out of Egypt: which all had been vain, 
superfluous, and but a sort of mockery, if 
Jacob had had the same power over every one 
of his family as he had over his ox or his ass, 
as an owner over his substance; and the offers 
that Reuben or Judah made had been such a 
security for returning of Benjamin, as if a man 
should take two lambs out of his lord's flock, 
and offer one as security, that he will safely re- 
store the other. 

§. 156. When they were out of this bondage, 
what then ? God out of a special care of them, 
the Israelites. It is well that once in his book, 
he will allow God to have any care of the peo- 
ple ; for in other places he speaks of mankind, 
as if God had no care of any part of them, but 
only of their monarchs, and that the rest of 
the people, the societies of men, were made as 
so many herds of cattle, only for the service, 
use, and pleasure of their princes. 

§. 157. Chose Moses and Joshua successively 
to govern as princes; a shrewd argument our 
author has found out to prove that God's care 
of the fatherly authority, and Adams heirs, 
that here, as an expression of his care of his 
own people, he chooses those for princes over 


them, that had not the least pretence to either. 
The persons chosen were, Moses of the tribe of 
Levi, and Joshua of the tribe of Ephraim, 
neither of which had any title of fatherhood. 
But says our author, they were in the place 
and stead of the supreme fathers. If God had 
any where as plainly declared his choice of 
such fathers to be rulers, as he did of Moses 
and Joshua, we might believe Moses and Joshua 
were in their jrfacc and stead : but that being 
the question in debate, till that be better proved, 
Moses being chosen by God to be ruler of his 
people, will no more prove that government be- 
longed to Adams heir, or to the fatherhood, 
than God's choosing Aaron of the tribe of Levi 
to be priest, will prove that the priesthood be- 
longed to Adams heir, or the prime fathers ; 
since God would choose Aaron to be priest, 
and 3Ioses ruler in Israel, though neither of 
those offices were settled on Adams heir, or 
the fatherhood. 

§. 158. Our author goes on, and after them 
likewise for a time he raised up judges, to de- 
fend his people in time of peril, p. 18. This 
proves fatherly authority to be the original of 
government, and that it descended from Adam 
to his heirs, just as well as what went before: 
only here our author seems to confess, that 
these judges, who were all the governors they 
then had, were only men of valour, whom they 
made their generals to defend them in time of 
peril ; and cannot God raise up such men, 
unless fatherhood have a title to government? 


§. 159. But says our author, when God gave 
the Israelites kings, he re-established the ancient 
and prime right of lineal succession to paternal 
government, p. 18. 

§. 100. How did God re-establish it? by a 
law, a positive command? We find no such 
thing. Our author means then, that when God 
gave them a king, in giving them a king, he 
re-established the right, fyc. To re-establish 
de facto the right of lineal succession to pater- 
nal government, is to put a man in possession 
of that government which his fathers did enjoy, 
and he by lineal succession had a right to: 
for, first, if it were another government than 
what his ancestors had, it was not succeeding 
to an ancient right, but beginning a new one : 
for if a prince should give a man, besides his 
ancient patrimony, which for some ages his 
family had been disseized of, an additional 
estate, never before in the possession of his 
ancestors, he could not be said to re-establish 
the right of lineal succession to any more than 
what had been formerly enjoyed by his ancestors. 
If therefore the power the kings of Israel had, 
were any thing more than Isaac or Jacob had, 
it was not the re-establishing in them the right 
of succession to a power, but giving them a 
new power, however you please to call it, 
paternal or not : and whether Isaac and Jacob 
had the same power that the kings of Israel 
had, I desire any one, by what has been above 
said, to consider; and I do not think they will 



find, that either Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, had 
any regal power at all. 

§. 161. Next, there can be no re-establish- 
ment of the prime and ancient right of lineal 
succession to any thing, unless he, that is put 
in possession of it, has the right to succeed, 
and be the true and next heir to him he suc- 
ceeds to. Can that be a re-establishment 
which begins in a new family ? or that the re- 
establishment of an ancient right of lineal suc- 
cession, when a crown is given to one, who 
has no right of succession to it, and who, if 
the lineal succession had gone on, had been 
out of all possibility of pretence to it? Saul, 
the first king God gave the Israelites, was of 
the tribe of Benjamin. Was the ancient and 
prime right of lineal succession re-established 
in him? The next was David, the youngest 
son of Jesse, of the posterity of Judah, Jacob's 
third son. Was the ancient and prime right of 
lineal succession to paternal government re-esta- 
blished in him ? or in Solomon, his younger son 
and successor in the throne ? or in Jeroboam 
over the ten tribes ? or in Athaliah, a woman 
who reio-ned six vears an utter stranger to the 
royal blood ? If the ancient and prime right of 
lineal succession to paternal government were 
re-established in any of these or their posterity, 
the ancient and prime right of lineal succession 
to paternal government belongs to younger 
brothers as well as elder, and may be re- 
established in any man living; for whatever 


younger brothers, by ancient and prime rigid of 
lineal succession, may have as well as the elder, 
that every living man may have a right to, by 
lineal succession, and Sir Robert as well as 
any other. And so what a brave right of 
lineal succession, to his paternal or regal go- 
vernment, our author has re-established, for the 
securing the rights and inheritance of crowns, 
where every one may have it, let the world 

§. 162. But says our author however, p. 19. 
Whensoever God made choice of any special per- 
son to be king, he intended that the issue also 
should have benefit thereof, as being compre- 
hended sufficiently in the person of the father, 
although the father wets only named in the 
grant. This yet will not help out succession ; 
for if, as our author says, the benefit of the 
grant be intended to the issue of the grantee, 
this will not direct the succession ; since, if 
God give any thing to a man and his issue in 
general, the claim cannot be to any one of that 
issue in particular ; every one that is of his 
race will have an equal right. If it be said, 
our author meant heir, I believe our author 
was as willing as any body to have used that 
word, if it would have served his turn : but 
Solomon, who succeeded David in the throne, 
being no more his heir than Jeroboam, who 
succeeded him in the government of the ten 
tribes, was his issue, our author had reason to 
avoid saying. That God intended it to the 

N 2 


heirs, when that would not hold in a succes- 
sion, which our author could not except 
against; and so he has left his succession as 
undetermined, as if he had said nothing about 
it: for if the regal power be given by God to 
a man and his issue, as the land of Canaan was 
to Abraham and his seed, must they not all 
have a title to it, all share in it ? And one may 
as well say, that by God's grant to Abraham 
and his seed, the land of Canaan was to be- 
long only to one of his seed exclusive of all 
others, as by God's grant of dominion to a 
man and his issue, this dominion was to belong 
in peculiar to one of his issue exclusive of all 

§. 163. But how will our author prove that 
whensoever God made choice of any special 
person to be a king, he intended that the (I 
suppose he means his) issue also should have 
benefit thereof? has he so soon forgot Moses 
and Joshua, whom in this very section, he 
says, God out of a special care chose to govern 
as princes, and the judges that God raised up? 
Had not these princes, having the authority of 
the supreme fatherhood, the same power that 
the kings had ; and being specially chosen by 
God himself, should not their issue have the 
benefit of that choice, as well as David's or 
Solomons? If these had the paternal authority 
put into their hands immediately by God, why 
1 1 ad not their issue the benefit of this grant in 
a succession to this power? or if they had it 


as Adams heirs, why did not their heirs enjoy 
it after them by right descending- to them ? for 
they could not be heirs to one another. Was 
the power the same, and from the same origi- 
nal, in 3Ioses, Joshua and the Judges, as it was 
in David and the Kings; and was it inheritable 
in one, and not in the other? If it was not 
paternal authority, then God's own people 
were governed by those that had not paternal 
authority, and those governors did well enough 
without it: if it were paternal authority, and 
God chose the persons that were to exercise 
it, our author's ride fails, that whensoever God 
makes choice of any perso?i to be supreme ruler 
(for I suppose the name king has no spell in 
it, it is not the title, but the power makes the 
difference) he intends that the issue should have 
the benefit of it, since from their coming out 
of Egypt to David s time, four hundred years, 
the issue was never so sufficiently comprehended 
in the person of the father, as that any son, 
after the death of his father, succeeded to the 
government amongst all those judges that 
judged Israel. If, to avoid this, it be said, 
God always chose the person of the successor, 
and so, transferring the fatherly authority to 
him, excluded his issue from succeeding to it, 
that is manifestly not so in the story of Jeph- 
tha, where he articled with the people, and 
they made him judge over them, as is plain, 
Judges xi. 
§. 104. It is in vain then to say, that when- 


soever God chooses any special person to have 
the exercise of paternal authority , (for if that be 
not to be king, 1 desire to know the difference 
between a king and one having the exercise 
of paternal authority) he intends the issue also 
should have the benefit of it, since we find the 
authority, the judges had, ended with them, 
and descended not to their issue; and if the 
judges had not paternal authority, I fear it will 
trouble our author, or any of the friends to his 
principles, to tell who had then the paternal 
authority, that is, the government and supreme 
power amongst the Israelites ; and I suspect 
they must confess that the chosen people of 
God continued a people several hundreds of 
years, without any knowledge or thought of 
this paternal authority, or any appearance of 
monarchical government at all. 

§. 1G5. To be satisfied of this, he need but 
read the story of the Levite, and the war there- 
upon with the Benjamites, in the three last 
chapters of Judges: and when he finds, that 
the Levite appeals to the people for justice 
that it was the tribes and the congregation, 
that debated, resolved, and directed all that 
was done on that occasion; he must conclude, 
either that God was not careful to preserve the 
fatherly authority amongst his own chosen 
people; or else that the fatherly authority 
may be preserved, where there is no monar- 
chical government; if the latter, then it will 
follow, that though fatherly authority be never 


so well proved, yet it will not inter a necessity of 
monarchical government; if the former, it will 
seem very strange and improbable, that God 
should ordain fatherly authority to be so sacred 
amongst the sons of men, that there could be 
no power, or government without it, and yet 
that amongst his own people, even whilst he is 
providing a government for them, and therein 
prescribes rules to the several states and rela- 
tions of men, this great and fundamental one, 
this most material and necessary of all the 
rest, should be concealed, and lie neglected 
for four hundred years after. 

§. 166. Before I leave this, I must ask how 
our author knows that whensoever Clod makes 
choice of any special person to be king, lie intends 
that the issue shoutd have the benefit thereof '? 
Does God by the law of nature or revelation 
say so? By the same law also he must say, 
which of his issue must enjoy the crown in 
succession, and so point out the heir, or else 
leave his issue to divide or scramble for the 
government: both alike absurd, and such as 
will destroy the benefit of such grant to the 
issue. When any such declaration of Gods 
intention is produced, it will be our duty to 
believe God intends it so ; but till that be 
done, our author must shew ns some better 
warrant, before we shall be obliged to receive 
him as the authentic revealer of God's in- 

§. 167. The issue, says our author, is cornpre- 


hended sufficiently in the person of the father, 
although the father only was named in the grant : 
and yet God, when he gave the land of Canaan 
to Abraham, Gen. xiii. 15. thought fit to put 
his seed into the grant too : so the priesthood 
was given to Aaron and his seed; and the 
crown God gave not only to David, but his 
seed also : and however our author assures us 
that God intends, that the issue should have the 
benefit of it, when he chooses any person to be 
king, yet we see that the kingdom which he 
gave to Saul, without mentioning his seed after 
him, never came to any of his issue: and why, 
when God chose a person to be king, he should 
intend, that his issue should have the benefit of 
it, more than when he chose one to be judge in 
Israel, I would fain know a reason ; or why 
does a grant of fatherly authority to a king 
more comprehend the issue, than when a like 
grant is made to a judge? Is paternal authority 
by right to descend to the issue of one, and not 
of the other? There will need some reason to 
be shewn of this difference, more than the 
name, when the thing given is the same fatherly 
authority, and the manner of giving it, God's 
choice of the person, the same too; for I 
suppose our author, when he says, God raised 
up judges, will by no means allow, they were 
chosen by the people. 

§. 168. But since our author has so confi- 
dently assured us of the care of God to preserve 
the fatherhood, and pretends to build all he 


says upon the authority of the scripture, we 
may well expect that that people, whose law, 
constitution and history is chiefly contained in 
the scripture, should furnish him with the 
clearest instances of God's care of preserving 
the fatherly authority, in that people who it is 
agreed he had a most peculiar care of. Let 
us see then what state this 'paternal authority 
or government was in amongst the Jews, from 
their beginning to be a people. It was omitted, 
by our author's confession, from their -coming 
into Egypt, till their return out of that bondage, 
above two hundred years: from thence till God 
gave the Israelites a king, about four hundred 
years more, our author gives but a very slender 
account of it; nor indeed all that time are there 
the least footsteps of paternal or regal govern- 
ment amongst them. But then says our author, 
(rod re-established the ancient and prime right 
of lineal succession to paternal government. 

§. 1G9. What a lineal succession to paternal 
government was then established, we have 
already seen. I only now consider how long 
this lasted, and that was to their captivity, 
about five hundred years : from thence to their 
destruction by the Romans, above six hundred 
and fifty years after, the ancient and prime 
right of lineal succession to paternal government 
was again lost, and they continued a people 
in the promised land without it. So that of 
one thousand, seven hundred and fifty years 
that they were Gods peculiar people, they had 


hereditary kingly government amongst them 
not one third of the time ; and of that time 
there is not the least footstep of one moment of 
paternal government, nor the re-establishment of 
the ancient and prime right of lineal succession 
to it, whether we suppose it to be derived, a> 
from its fountain, from David, Saul, Abraham, 
or, which upon our author's principles, is the 
only true, from Adam. 




§. 1. It having been shewn in the foregoing 

1. That Adam had not, either by natural 
right of fatherhood, or by positive donation 
from God, any such authority over his children, 
or dominion over the world, as is pretended: 

2. That if he had, his heirs, yet, had no right 
to it: 

3. That if his heirs had, there being no law 
of nature nor positive law of God that deter- 
mines which is the right heir in all cases that 
may arise, the right of succession, and conse- 
quently of bearing rule, could not have been 
certainly determined : 

4. That if even that had been determined, 
yet the knowledge of which is the eldest line 
of Adams posterity, being so long since utterly 
lost, that in the races of mankind and families 
of the world, there remains not to one above 
another, the least pretence to ha the eldest 
house, and to have the right of inheritance : 


All these premises having, as I think, been 
clearly made out, it is impossible that the ru- 
lers now on earth should make any benefit, or 
derive any the least shadow of authority from 
that, which is held to be the fountain of all 
power, Adams private dominion and paternal 
jurisdiction; -so that he that will not give just 
occasion to think that all government in the 
world is the product only of force and violence, 
and that men live together by no other rules 
but that of beasts, where the strongest carries 
it, and so lay a foundation for perpetual disor- 
der and mischief, tumult, sedition and rebellion, 
(tilings that the followers of that hypothesis so 
loudly cry out against) must of necessity find 
out another rise of government, another original 
of political power, and another way of design- 
ing and knowing the persons that have it, than 
what Sir Robert Filmer hath taught us. 

§. 2. To this purpose, 1 think it may not be 
amiss, to set down what I take to be political 
power ; that the power of a magistrate over a 
subject may be distinguished from that of a 
father over his children, a master over his ser- 
vant, a husband over his wife, and a lord over 
his slave. All which distinct powers happen- 
ing sometimes together in the same man, if he 
be considered under these different relations, 
it may help us to distinguish these powers 
one from another, and shew the difference be- 
twixt a ruler of a commonwealth, a father of a 
family, and a captain of a galley. 


§. 3. Political power, then, I take to be a 
right of making laws with penalties of death, 
and consequently all less penalties, for the re- 
gulating' and preserving of property, and of 
employing the force of the community, in the 
execution of such laws, and in the defence 
of the commonwealth from foreign injury; and 
all this only for the public good. 


Of the State of Nature. 

§. 4. To understand political power right, 
and derive it from its original, we must consider, 
what state all men are naturally in, and that is, 
a state of pet fee I freedom to order their actions, 
and dispose of their possessions and persons, as 
they think fit, within the bounds of the law of 
nature, without asking leave, or depending upon 
the will of any other man. 

A state also of equality, wherein all the 
power and jurisdiction is reciprocal, no one 
having more than another; there being nothing 
more evident, than that creatures of the same 
species and rank, promiscuously born to all the 
same advantages of nature, and the use of the 
same faculties should also be equal one amongst 
another without subordination or subjection, 
unless the lord and master of them all should, 
by any manifest declaration of his will, set one 
above another, and confer on him, by an evident 


and clear appointment, an undoubted right to 
dominion and sovereignty. 

§. 5. This equality of men by nature, the judi- 
cious Hooker looks upon as so evident in itself, 
and beyond all question, that he makes it the 
foundation of that obligation to mutual love 
amongst men, on which he builds the duties 
they owe one another, and from whence he 
derives the great maxims of justice and charity. 
His words are, 

The like natural inducement hath brought 
men to know that it is no less their duty, to love 
others than themselves ; for seeing those things 
which are equal, must needs all have one mea- 
sure ; if I cannot but wish to receive good, even 
as much at every man's hands, as any man can 
wish unto his own soul, how should I look to 
have any part of my desire herein satisfied, unless 
myself be careful to satisfy the like desire, which 
is undoubtedly in other men, being of one and 
the same nature? To have any thing offered 
them repugnant to this desire, must needs in all 
respects grieve them as much as me ; so that if 1 
do harm, I must look to suffer, there being no 
reason that others should sheiv greater measure 
of love to me, than they have by me shewed unto 
them : my desire therefore to be loved of my 
equals in nature, as much as possible may be, 
imposcth upon me a natural duty of bearing to 
them-ivard fully the like affection; from which 
relation of equality between ourselves and them 
that are as ourselves, what several rules and 


canons natural reason hath drawn, for direction 
<>/ life, no man is ignorant. Eccl. Pol. Lib. i. 

§. 6. But though this be a state of liberty, 
yet it is not a state of license: though man in 
that state have an uncontroulable liberty to 
dispose of his person or possessions, yet he has 
not liberty to destroy himself, or so much as 
any creature in his possession, but where some 
nobler use than its bare preservation calls for 
it. The state of nature has a law of nature to 
govern it, which obliges every one : and reason, 
which is that law, teaches all mankind, who 
will but consult it, that being all equal and in- 
dependent, no one ought to harm another in his 
life, health, liberty, or possessions: for men 
being all the workmanship of one omnipotent, 
and infinitely wise maker; all the servants of 
one sovereign master, sent into the world by 
his order, and about his business ; they are his 
property, whose workmanship they are, made 
to last during his, not one another's pleasure: 
and being furnished with like faculties, sharing 
all in one community of nature, there cannot 
be supposed any such subordination among us, 
that may authorize us to destroy one another, 
as if we were made for one another's uses, 
as the inferior ranks of creatures are for ours. 
Every one, as he is bound to preserve himself, 
and not to quit his station wilfully, so by the 
like reason, when his own preservation comes 
not in competition, ought he, as much as he 
can, to preserve the rest of mankind and may 


not, unless it be to do justice on an offender, 
take away, or impair the life, or what tends to 
the preservation of the life, the liberty, health, 
limb, or goods of another. 

§. 7. And that all men may be restrained 
from invading others rights, and from doing 
hurt to one another, and the law of nature be ob- 
served, which willeth the peace and preserva- 
tion of all mankind, the execution of the law of 
nature is, in that state, put into every man's 
hands, whereby every one has a right to punish 
the transgressors of that law to such a degree, 
as may hinder its violation : for the law of 
nature would, as all other laws that concern 
men in this world, be in vain, if there were 
nobody that in the state of nature had a power 
to execute that law, and thereby preserve the 
innocent and restrain offenders. And if any 
one in the state of nature may punish another 
for any evil he has done, every one may do 
so : for in that state of jjerfect equality where 
naturally there is no superiority or jurisdiction 7 
of one over another, what any may do in pro- 
secution of that law, every one must needs 
have a right to do. 

§. 0. And thus, in the state of nature, one 
man comes by a power over another ; but yet 
no absolute or arbitrary power, to use a crimi- 
nal, when he has got him in his hands, ac- 
cording to the passionate heats, or boundless 
extravagancy of his own will ; but only to re- 
tribute to him, so far as calm reason and 


conscience dictate, what is proportionate to 
his transgression, which is so much as may 
serve for reparation and restraint: for these 
two are the only reasons, why one man may 
lawfully do harm to another, which is that we 
call punishment. In transgressing the law of 
nature, the offender declares himself to live by 
another rule than that of reason and common 
equity, which is that measure God has set to 
the actions of men, for their mutual security; 
and so he becomes dangerous to mankind, 
the tye, which is to secure them from injury 
and violence, being slighted and broken by 
him. Which being a trespass against the 
whole species, and the peace and safety of it, 
provided for by the law of nature, every man 
upon this score, by the right he hath to pre- 
serve mankind in general, may restrain, or 
where it is necessary, destroy things noxious 
to them, and so may bring such evil on any one, 
"who hath transgressed that law, as may make 
him repent the doing of it, and thereby deter 
him, and by his example others, from doing the 
like mischief. And in this case, and upon this 
ground, every man hath a right to punish the 
offender, and be executioner of the law of nature. 
%. 9. 1 doubt not but this will seem a very 
strange doctrine to some men : but before they 
condemn it, I desire them to resolve me, by 
what right any prince or state can put to death, 
or punish an alien, for any crime he commits in 
in their country. It is certain their laws, by 



virtue of any sanction they receive from the 
promulgated will of the legislative, reach not a 
stranger : they speak not to him, nor, if they 
did, is he bound to hearken to them. The 
legislative authority, by which they are in force 
over the subjects of that commonwealth, hath 
no power over him. Those who have the 
supreme power of making laws in England, 
France or Holland, are to an Indian, but like 
the rest of the world, men without authority : 
and therefore, if by the law of nature every man 
hath not a power to punish offences against it, 
as he soberly judges the case to require, I see 
not how the magistrates of auy community can 
punish an alien of another country; since, in 
reference to him, they can have no more power 
than what every man naturally may have over 

§. 10. Besides the crime which consists in 
violating the law, and varying from the right 
rule of reason, whereby a man so far becomes 
degenerate, and declares himself to quit the 
principles of human nature, and to be a noxious 
creature, there is commonly injury done to 
some person or other, and some other man re- 
ceives damage by his transgression ; in which 
case he who hath received any damage, has, 
besides the right of punishment common to him 
with other men, a particular right to seek repa- 
ration from him that has done it : and any other 
person, who finds it just, may also join with 
him that is injured, and assist him in recover- 


ing from the offender so much as may make 
satisfaction for the harm he has suffered. 

§. 11. From these two distinct rights, the 
one of punishing the crime for restraint, and 
preventing- the like offence, which right of pu- 
nishing is in every body ; the other of taking 
reparation, which belongs only to the injured 
party, comes it to pass that the magistrate, who 
by being magistrate hath the common right of 
punishing put into his hands, can often, where the 
public good demands not the execution of the 
law, remit the punishment of criminal offences 
by his own authority, but yet cannot remit the 
satisfaction due to any private man for the 
damage he has received* That, he who has 
suffered the damage has a right to demand in 
his own name, and he alone can remit: the 
damnified person has this power of appropri- 
ating to himself the goods or service of the 
offender, by right of self-preservation, as every 
man has a power to punish the crime, to pre- 
vent its being committed again, by the light he 
has of preserving all mankind, and doing all 
reasonable things he can in order to that end : 
and thus it is, that every man, in the state of 
nature, has a power to kill a murderer, both 
to deter others from doing the like injury, 
which no reparation can compensate, by the 
example of the punishment that attends it from 
every body, and also to secure men from the 
attempts of a criminal, who having renounced 
reason, the common rule and measure God 

o 2 


hath given to mankind, hath, by the unjust 
violence and slaughter he hath committed upon 
one, declared war against all mankind, and 
therefore may be destroyed as a lion or a tyger, 
one of those wild savage beasts, with whom 
men can have no society nor security : and upon 
this is grounded that great law of nature, Whoso 
sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be 
shed. And Cain was so fully convinced, that 
every one had a right to destroy such a crimi- 
nal, that after the murder of his brother, he 
cries out, Every one that findeth me shall slay 
me; so plain was it writ in the hearts of all 

§. 12. By the same reason may a man in the 
state of nature punish the lesser breaches of that 
law. It will perhaps be demanded, with death ? 
I answer, each transgression may be punished 
to that degree, and with so much severity, as 
will suffice to make it an ill bargain to the of- 
fender, give him cause to repent, and terrify 
others from doing the like. Every offence, 
that can be committed in the state of nature, 
may in the state of nature be also punished 
equally, and as far forth as it may, in a com- 
monwealth : for though it would be besides 
my present purpose, to enter here into the 
particulars of the law of nature, or its measures 
of punishment ; yet, it is certain there is such a 
law, and that too, as intelligible and plain to a 
rational creature, and a studier of that law, as 
the positive laws of commonwealths : nay, 


possibly plainer ; as much as reason is easier 
to be understood, than the fancies and intricate 
contrivances of men, following contrary and 
hidden interests put into words; for so truly 
are a great part of the municipal laws of coun- 
tries, which are only so far right, as they are 
founded on the law of nature, by which they are 
to be regulated and interpreted. 

§. 13. To this strange doctrine, viz. That 
in the state of nature every one has the executive 
power of the law of nature, I doubt not but it 
will be objected, that it is unreasonable for men 
to be judges in their own cases, that self-love 
will make men partial to themselves and their 
friends : and on the other side, that ill-nature, 
passion and revenge will carry them too far in 
punishing others ; and hence nothing but con 
fusion and disorder will follow ; and that there- 
fore God hath certainly appointed government 
to restrain the partiality and violence of men. 
1 easily grant, that civil government is the pro- 
per remedy for the inconveniences of the state 
of nature, which must certainly be great, where 
men may be judges in their own case, since it 
is easy to be imagined, that he who was so un- 
just as to do his brother an injury, will scan 
be so just as to condemn himself for it ; but I 
shall desire those who make this objection, to 
remember, that absolute monarchs are but men ; 
and if government is to be the remedy of those 
evils, which necessarily follow from men's being 
judges in their own cases, and the state of na- 


ture is therefore not to be endured, I desire to 
know what kind of government that is, and 
how much better it is than the state of nature, 
where one man, commanding a multitude, has 
the liberty to be judge in his own case, and may 
do to all his subjects whatever he pleases, with- 
out the least liberty to any one to question or 
controul those who execute his pleasure? and 
in whatsoever he doth, whether led by reason, 
mistake or passion, must be submitted to? 
much better it is in the state of nature, wherein 
men are not bound to submit to the unjust will 
of another: and if he that judges, judges 
amiss in his own, or any other case, he is an- 
swerable for it to the rest of mankind. 

§. 14. It is often asked as a mighty objec- 
tion, where are, or ever were there any men in 
such a state of nature ? To which it may suffice 
as an answer at present, that since all princes 
and rulers of independent governments all 
through the world, are in a state of nature, it is 
plain the world never was, nor ever will be, 
without numbers of men in that state. I have 
named all governors of independent communi- 
ties, whether they are, or are not, in league 
with others : for it is not every compact that 
puts an end to the state of nature between men, 
but only this one of agreeing together mutually 
to enter into one community, and make one 
body politic; other promises, and compacts, 
men may make one witlranother, and yet still 
be in the state of nature. The promises and 


bargains for truck, &c. between the two men in 
the desert island, mentioned by Garcilasso de 
la Vega, in his history of Peru; or between a 
Swiss and an Indian, in the woods of ^America, 
are binding- to them, though they are perfectly 
in a state of nature, in reference to one another: 
for truth and keeping of faith belongs to men, 
as men, and not as members of society. 

§. 15. To those that say, there were never 
any men in the state of nature, I will not only 
oppose the authority of the judicious Hooker, 
Eccl. Pol. lib. i. sect. 10. where he says, The 
laws which have been hitherto mentioned, i. e. 
the laws of nature, do bind men absolutely, even 
as they are men, although they have never any 
settled fellowship, never any solemn agreement 
amongst themselves what to do, or not to do: 
but forasmuch as we are not by ourselves suffi- 
cient to furnish ourselves with competent store 
of things t needful J or such a life as our nature 
doth desire, a life fit for the dignity of man; 
therefore to supply those defects and imperfec- 
tions which are in tis, as living single and solely 
by ourselves, we are naturally induced to seek 
communion and fellowship with others : this 
was the cause of metis uniting themselves at 
first in politic societies. But ] moreover 
affirm, that all men are naturally in that state, 
and remain so, till by their own consents they 
make themselves members of some politic 
society ; and I doubt not in the sequel of this 
discourse, to make it very clear. 



Of the State of War. 

§. 16. The state of war is a state of enmity 
and destruction: and therefore declaring by 
word or action, not a passionate and hasty, but 
a sedate settled design upon another man's life 
puts him in a state of xuar with him against 
whom he lias declared such an intention, and 
so has exposed his life to the other's power to 
be taken away by him, or any one that joins 
with him in his defence, and espouses his 
quarrel; it being reasonable and just, I should 
have a right to destroy that which threatens me 
with destruction: for, by the fundamental law of 
nature, man being- to be preserved as much as 
possible, when all cannot be preserved, the 
safety of the innocent is to be preferred : 
and one may destroy a man who makes war 
upon him, or has discovered an enmity to his 
being, for the same reason that he may kill a 
wolf or a Hon; because such men are not under 
the ties of the common-law of reason, have no 
other rule, but that of force and violence, and 
so may be treated as beasts of prey, those 
dangerous and noxious creatures, that will be 
sure to destroy him whenever he falls into their 

§. 17. And hence it is, that he who attempts 
to get another man into his absolute power, 


does thereby put, himself into a slate of war 
with him : it being- to be understood as a decla- 
ration of a design upon his life: for I have 
reason to conclude, that he who would get me 
into his power without my consent, would use 
me as he pleased when he had got me there, and 
destroy me too when he had a fancy to it ; for 
nobody can desire to have me in his absolute 
power, unless it be to compel me by force to 
that which is against the right of my freedom, 
i. e. make me a slave. To be free from such 
force is the only security of my preservation ; 
and reason bids me look on him, as an enemy 
to my preservation, who would take away that 
freedom which is the fence to it ; so that he 
who makes an attempt to enslave me, thereby 
puts himself into a state of war with me. He 
that, in the state of nature, would take away the 
freedom that belongs to any one in that state, 
must necessarily be supposed to have a design 
to take away every thing else, that freedom 
being the foundation of all the rest; as he that, 
in the state of society, would take away the 
freedom belonging to those of that society or 
commonwealth, must be supposed to design 
to take away from them every thing else, and 
so be looked on as in a state of war. 

%. 18. This makes it lawful for a man to kill 

a thief who has not in the least hurt him, nor 

declared any design upon his life, any farther 

than by use of force, so to get him in his power 

us to take away his money, or what he pleases. 


from him ; because using force, where he has 
no right, to get me into his power, let his 
pretence be what it will, I have no reason to 
suppose, that he, who would take away my 
liberty, would not, when he had me in his 
power, take away every thing else. And there- 
fore it is lawful for me to treat him as one who 
has put himself into a state of war with me, i. e. 
kill him if I can ; for to that hazard does he 
justly expose himself, whoever introduces a 
state of war, and is aggressor in it. 

§. 19. And here we have the plain difference 
between the state of nature and the state of war , 
which however some men have confounded, 
are as far distant, as a state of peace, good will, 
mutual assistance and preservation, and a state 
of enmity, malice, violence, and mutual destruc- 
tion, are one from another. Men living together 
according to reason, without a common 
superior on earth, without authority to judge 
between them, is properly the state of nature. 
But force, or a declared design of force, upon 
the person of another, where there is no com- 
mon superior on earth to appeal to for relief, is 
the state of war : and it is the want of such an 
appeal gives a man the right of war even against 
an aggressor, though he be in society and a 
fellow subject. Thus a thief whom I cannot 
harm, but by appeal to the law for having 
stolen all that I am worth, 1 may kill, when he 
sets on me to rob me but of my horse or coat ; 
because the law, which was made for my pre- 


servation, where it cannot interpose to secure 
my life from present force, which, if lost, is 
capable of no reparation, permits me my own 
defence, and the right of war, a liberty to kill 
the aggressor, because the aggressor allows 
not time to appeal to our common judge, nor 
the decision of the law, for remedy in a case 
where the mischief may be irreparable. Want 
of a common judge with authority, puts all 
men in a state of nature : force without right, 
upon a man's person, makes a state of war, 
both where there is, and is not, a common 

§. 20. But when the actual force is over, 
the state of ivar ceases between those that are 
in society, and are equally on both sides sub- 
jected to the fair determination of the law; 
because then there lies open the remedy of 
appeal for the past injury, and to prevent 
future harm : but where no such appeal is, as 
in the state of nature, for want of positive 
laws, and judges with authority to appeal to, 
the state of war once begun, continues, with 
a right to the innocent party to destroy the 
other whenever he can, until the aggressor 
offers peace, and desires reconciliation on such 
terms as may repair any wrongs he has already 
done, and secure the innocent for the future ; 
nay, where an appeal to the law, and consti- 
tuted judges, lies open, but the remedy is 
denied by a manifest perverting of justice, and 
a bare faced wresting of the laws to protect or 


indemnify the violence or injuries of some men, 
or party of men, there it is hard to imagine 
any thing but a state of war: for where ever 
violence is used, and injury done, though by 
hands appointed to administer justice, it is 
still violence and injury, however coloured 
with the name, pretences, or forms of law, the 
end whereof being to protect and redress the 
innocent, by an unbiassed application of it, to 
all who are under it ; where ever that is not 
bona Jide done, war is made upon the sufferers, 
who having no appeal on earth to right them, 
they are left to the only remedy in such cases, 
an appeal to heaven. 

§. 21. To avoid this state of tear (wherein 
there is no appeal but to heaven, and wherein 
every the least difference is apt to end, where 
there is no authority to decide between the 
contenders) is one great reason of men's put- 
ting themselves into society, and quitting the 
state of nature : for where there is an autho- 
rity, a power on earth, from which relief can 
be had by appeal, there the continuance of the 
state of war is excluded, and the controversy 
is decided by that power. Had there been 
any such court, any superior jurisdiction on 
earth, to determine the right between Jephtha 
and the Ammonites, they had never come to a 
state of war: but we see he was forced to 
appeal to heaven. The Lord the judge 
(says he) be judge this day between the children 
of Israel and the children a/' Amnion, Judg. xi. 


27. and then prosecuting, and relying on his 
appeal, he leads out his army to battle: and 
therefore in such controversies, where the 
question is put, who shall be judge! It cannot 
be meant, who shall decide the controversy ; 
every one knows what Jephtha here tells us, 
that the Lord the judge shall judge. Where 
there is no judge on earth, the appeal lies to 
God in heaven. That question then cannot 
mean, who shall judge, whether another hath 
put himself in a state of war with me, and 
whether 1 may, as Jephtha did, appeal to 
heaven in it? of that I myself can only be judge 
in my own conscience, as I will answer it, 
at the great day, to the supreme judge of all 



\. 22. The natural liberty of man is to be 
free from any superior power on earth, and not 
to be under the will or legislative authority of 
man, but to have only the law of nature for 
his rule. The liberty of man, in society, is to 
be under no other legislative power, but that 
established, by consent, in the commonwealth ; 
nor under the dominion of any will, or restraint 
of any law, but what that legislative shall 
enact, according to the trust put in it. Free- 
dom then is not what Sir Robert Filmer tells 


us, Observations, A. 55. a liberty for every one 
to do what he lists, to live as he pleases, and 
not to be tied by any laws : but freedom of men 
under government is, to have a standing rule to 
live by, common to every one of that society, 
and made by the legislative power erected 
in it ; a liberty to follow my own will in all 
things, where the rule prescribes not; and 
not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, 
unknown, arbitrary will of another man: as 
freedom of nature is, to be under no other re- 
straint but the law of nature. 

§. 23. This freedom from absolute, arbitrary 
power, is so necessary to, and closely joined 
with a man's preservation, that he cannot part 
with it, but by what forfeits his preservation 
and life together: for a man, not having the 
power of his own life, cannot, by compact, or 
his own consent, enslave himself to any one, 
nor put himself under the absolute, arbitrary 
power of another, to take away his life, when 
he pleases. No body can give more power 
than he has himself ; and he that cannot take 
away his own life, cannot give another power 
over it. Indeed, having by his fault forfeited 
his own life, by some act that deserves death ; 
he, to whom he has forfeited it, may (when he 
has him in his power) delay to take it, and 
make use of him to his service, and he does 
him no injury by it: for, whenever he finds 
the hardship of his slavery outweigh the value 
of his life, it is in his power, by resisting the 


will of his master, to draw on himself the 
death he desires. 

§. 24. This is the perfect condition of sla- 
very, which is nothing else, but the state of war 
continued, betiveen a lawful conqueror and a cap- 
tive : for, if once compact enter between them, 
and make an agreement for a limited power 
on the one side, and obedience on the other, 
the state of war and slavery ceases, as long as 
the compact endures : for, as has been said, 
no man can, by agreement, pass over to ano- 
ther that which he hath not in himself, a power 
over his own life. 

I confess we find among the Jews, as well 
as other nations, that men did sell themselves ; 
but it is plain, this was only to drudgery, not 
to slavery : for, it is evident, the person sold 
was not under an absolute, arbitrary, despotical 
power : for the master could not have power 
to kill him, at any time, whom, at a certain 
time, he was obliged to let go free out of his 
service ; and the master of such a servant was 
so far from having an arbitrary power over his 
life, that he could not, at pleasure, so much as 
maim him, but the loss of an eye, or tooth, set 
him free, Exod. xxi. 




§. 25. Whether we consider natural reason, 
which tells us, that men, being once born, have 
a right to their preservation, and consequently 
to meat and drink, and such other things as 
nature affords for their subsistence : or revela- 
tion, which gives us an account of those 
grants God made of the world to Adam, and 
to Noah, and his sons, it is very clear, that 
God, as king David says, Psal. cxv. 16. has 
given the earth to the children of men ; given 
it to mankind in common. But this being 
supposed, it seems to some a very great diffi- 
culty, how any one should ever come to have 
a property in any thing : I will not content 
myself to answer, that if it be difficult to make 
out property upon a supposition that God gave 
the world to Adam, and his posterity in com- 
mon, it is impossible that any man, but one 
universal monarch, should have any property 
upon a supposition, that God gave the world 
to Adam, and his heirs in succession, exclusive 
of all the rest of his posterity. But I shall 
endeavour to shew, how men might come to 
have a property in several parts of that which 
God gave to mankind in common, and that 
without any express compact of all the com- 


§. 26. God, who hath given the world to 
men in common, hath also given them reason 
to make use of it to the best advantage of life, 
and convenience. The earth, and all that is 
therein, is given to men for the support and 
comfort of their being. And though all the 
fruits it naturally produces, and beasts it 
feeds, belong to mankind in common, as they 
are produced by the spontaneous hand of 
nature ; and no body has originally a private 
dominion, exclusive of the rest of mankind, 
in any of them, as they are thus in their natural 
state : yet being given for the use of men, there 
must of necessity be a means to appropriate 
them some way or other, before they can be 
of any use, or at all beneficial to any particular 
man. The fruit, or venison, which nourishes 
the wild Indian, who knows no inclosure, and 
is still a tenant in common, must be his, and 
so his, i. e. a part of him, that another can no 
longer have any right to it, before it can do 
him any good for the support of his life. 

§. 27. Though the earth, and all inferior 
creatures, be common to all men, yet every 
man has a property in his own person : this no 
body has any right to but himself. The labour 
of his body, and the work of his hands, we 
may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then 
he removes out of the state that nature hath 
provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his 
labour with, and joined to it something that is 
his own, and thereby makes it his property. It 



being by him removed from the common state 
nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour 
something annexed to it, that excludes the 
common right of other men : for this labour 
being the unquestionable property of the la- 
bourer, no man but he can have a right to 
what that is once joined to, at least where 
there is enough, and as good, left in common 
for , others. 

§. 28. He that is nourished by the acorns 
he picked up under an oak, or the apples he 
gathered from the trees in the wood, has cer- 
tainly appropriated them to himself. Nobody 
can deny but the nourishment is his. I ask 
then, when did they begin to be his? when he 
digested? or when he eat? or when he boiled? 
or when he brought them home ? or when he 
picked them up? and it is plain, if the first 
gathering made them not his, nothing else 
could. That labour put a distinction between 
them and common : that added something to 
them more than nature, the common mother 
of all, had done ; and so they became his 
private right. And will any one say, he had 
no right, to those acorns or apples, he thus 
appropriated, because he had not the consent 
of all mankind to make them his ? Was it a 
robbery thus to assume to himself, what be- 
longed to all in common? If such a consent 
as that was necessary, man had starved, not- 
withstanding the plenty God had given him. 
We see in commons, which remain so by com- 


pact, that it is the taking any part of what is 
common, and removing' it out of the state na- 
ture leaves it in, which begins the property; 
without which the common is of no use. And 
the taking of this or that part, does not depend 
on the express consent of all the commoners. 
Thus the grass my horse has bit ; the turfs my 
servant has cut ; and the ore I have digged in 
any place, where I have a right to them in 
common with others, become my property, 
without the assignation or consent of any body. 
The labour that was mine, removing them out 
of that common state they were in, hath fixed 
m y p roper ty in th e m . 

§. 29. By making an explicit consent of 
every commoner necessary to any one's appro- 
priating to himself any part of. what is given in 
common, children or servants could not cut 
the meat, which their father or master had pro- 
vided for them in common, without assigning 
to every one his peculiar part. Though the 
water running in the fountain be every one's, 
yet who can doubt but that in the pitcher is 
his only who drew it out? His labour hath 
taken it out of the hands of nature, where it 
was common, and belonged equally to all her 
children, and hath thereby appropriated it to 

§. 30. Thus this law of reason makes the 
deer that Indian's who hath killed it ; it is 
allowed to be his goods, who hath bestowed 
his labour upon it, though before it was the 

p 2 


common right of every one. And amougst 
those who are counted the civilized part of 
mankind, who have made and multiplied posi- 
tive laws to determine property, this original 
law of nature, for the beginning of property, in 
what was before common, still takes place ; 
and by virtue thereof, what fish any one catches 
in the ocean, that great and still remaining 
common of mankind ; or what ambergrease 
any one takes up here, is by the labour that 
removes it out of that common state nature left 
it in, made his property, who takes that pains 
about it. And even amongst us, the hare that 
any one is hunting, is thought his who pursues 
her during the chase: for being a beast that is 
still looked upon as common, and no mans 
private" possession; whoever has employed so 
much labour about any of that kind, as to find 
and pursue her, has thereby removed her from 
the state of nature, wherein she was common, 
and hath begun a property. 

§. 3.1. It will perhaps be objected to this, 
that if gathering the acorns, or other fruits of 
the earth, &c. makes a right to them, then any 
one may ingress as much as he will. To which 
I answer, Not so. The same law of nature, 
that does by this means give us property, does 
also bound that property too. God has given 
us all things richly, 1 Tim. vi. 12. is the voice 
of reason confirmed by inspiration. But how 
far as he given it us? To enjoy. As much as 
any one can make use of to any advantage of 


life before it spoils, so much lie may by his 
labour fix a property in : whatever is beyond 
(his, is more than his share, and belongs to 
others. Nothing was made by God for man 
to spoil or destroy. And thus, considering 
the plenty of natural provisions there was a 
long time in the world, and the few spenders; 
and to how small a part of that provision the 
industry of one man could extend itself, and 
ingross it to the prejudice of others; especially 
keeping within the bounds, set by reason, of 
what might serve for his use; there could be 
then little room for quarrels or contentions 
about property so established. 

§. 32. But the chief matter of property being 
now not the fruits of the earth, and the beasts 
that subsist on it, but the earth' itself ; as that 
which takes in and carries with it all the rest ; 
I think it is plain, that property in that too is 
acquired as the former. As much land as a 
man tills, plants, improves, cultivates, and can 
use the product of, so much is his property. 
He by his labour does, as it were, inclose it for 
the common. Nor will it invalidate his right, 
to say every body else has an equal title to it ; 
and therefore he cannot appropriate, he cannot 
inclose, without the consent of all his fellow- 
counnoners, all mankind. God, when he gave 
the world in common to all mankind, com- 
manded man also to labour, and the penury 
of his condition required it of him. God and 
his reason commanded him to subdue the earth, 


i. e. improve it for the benefit of life, and there- 
in lay out something upon it that was his own, 
his labour. He that in obedience to this com- 
mand of God subdued, tilled and sowed any 
part of it, thereby annexed to it something that 
was his property, which another had no title to, 
nor could without injury take from him. 

§. 33. Nor was this appropriation of any 
parcel of land, by improving it, any prejudice 
to any other man, since there was still enough, 
and as good left ; and more than the yet un- 
provided could use. So that, in effect, there 
was never the less left for others because of his 
inclosure for himself: for he that leaves as 
much as another can make use of, does as 
good as take nothing at all. No body could 
think himself injured by the drinking of another 
man, though he took a good draught, who had 
a whole river of the same water left him to 
quench his thirst: and the case of land and 
water, where there is enough of both, is per- 
fectly the same. 

§. 34. God gave the world to men in com- 
mon ; but since he gave it them for their bene- 
fit, and the greatest conveniencies of life they 
were capable to draw from it, it cannot be sup- 
posed he meant it should always remain com- 
mon and uncultivated. He gave it to the use 
of the industrious and rational, (and labour was 
to be his title to it;) not to the fancy or covet- 
ousness of the quarrelsome and contentious. 
He that had as good left for his improvement, 


as was already taken up, needed not complain, 
ought not to meddle with what was already 
improved by auother's labour: if he did, it is 
plain he desired the benefit of another's pains, 
which he had no right to, and not the ground 
which God had given him in common with 
others to labour on, and whereof there was as 
good left, as that already possessed, and more 
than he knew what to do with, or his industry 
could reach to. 

§. 35. It is true, in land that is common in 
England, or any other country where there is 
plenty of people under government, who have 
money and commerce, no one can inclose or 
appropriate any part, without the consent of 
all his fellow-commoners ; because this is left 
common by compact, i. e. by the law of the 
land, which is not to be violated. And though 
it be common, in respect of some men, it is not 
so to all mankind ; but is the joint property of 
this country, or this parish. Besides the re- 
mainder, after such inclosure, would not be as 
good to the rest of the commoners, as the whole 
was when they could all make use of the 
whole; whereas in the beginning and first 
peopling of the great common of the world, it 
was quite otherwise. The law man was under, 
was rather for appropriating. God command- 
ed, and his wants forced him to labour. That 
Avas his property which could not betaken from 
him wherever he had fixed it. And hence 
subduing or cultivating the earth, and having 


dominion, we see are joined together. The 
one gave title to the other. So that God, by 
commanding to subdue, gave authority so far 
to appropriate: and the condition of human 
life, which requires labour and materials to 
work on, necessarily introduces private pos- 

§. 36. The measure of property nature has 
well set by the extent of men's labour and the 
conveniencies of life: no man's labour could 
subdue, or appropriate all ; nor could his en- 
joyment consume more than a small part ; so 
that it was impossible for any man, this way, to 
intrench upon the right of another, or acquire 
to himself a property, to the prejudice of his 
neighbour, who would still have room for as 
good, and as large a possession (after the other 
had taken out his) as before it was appropriated. 
This measure did confine every man's posses- 
sion to a very moderate proportion, and such 
as he might appropriate to himself, without 
injury to any body, in the first ages of the 
world, when men were more in danger to be 
lost, by wandering from their company in the 
then vast wilderness of the earth, than to be 
straitened for want of room to plant in. And 
the same measure may be allowed still without 
prejudice to any body, as full as the world 
seems : for supposing a man, or family, in the 
state they were at first peopling of the world 
by the children of Adam, or Noah : let him 
plant in some inland, vacant places of America, 


we shall find that the possessions he could make 
himself upon the measures we have given, would 
not be very large, nor, even to this day, preju- 
dice the rest of mankind, or give them reason 
to complain, or think themselves injured by 
this man's encroachment, though the race of 
men have now spread themselves to all the 
corners of the world, and do infinitely exceed 
the small number which was at the beginning. 
Nay, the extent of ground is of so little value, 
ivithout labour, that I have heard it affirmed, 
that in Spain itself a man may be permitted to 
plough, sow and reap, without being disturbed, 
upon land he has no other title to, but only his 
making use of it. But, on the contrary, the in- 
habitants think themselves beholden to him, 
who, by his industry on neglected, and conse- 
quently waste land, has increased the stock of 
corn, which they wanted. But be this as it will, 
which I lay no stress on ; this I dare boldly 
affirm, that the same rule of propriety, (viz.) 
that every man should have as much as he 
could make use of, would hold still in the 
world, without straitening any body : since 
there is land enough in the world to suffice 
double the inhabitants, had not the invention 
of money, and the tacit agreement of men to 
put a value on it, introduced by consent, larger 
possessions, and a right to them ; which, how 
it has done, I shall by and by shew more at 
*. o7. This is pertain, that in the beginning, 


before the desire of having more than man 
needed had altered the intrinsic value of things, 
which depends only on their usefulness to the 
life of man: or had agreed that a little piece of 
yellow metal, which would keep without wast- 
ing or decay, should he worth a great piece of 
flesh, or a whole heap of corn ; though men 
had a right to appropriate, by their labour, 
each one to himself, as much of the things of 
nature, as he could use: yet this could not be 
much, nor to the prejudice of others, where the 
same plenty was still left to those who would 
use the same industry. To which let me add, 
that he, who appropriates land to himself by 
his labour, does not lessen, but increase the 
common stock of mankind : for the provisions 
serving to the support of human life, produced 
by one acre of inclosed and cultivated land, 
are (to speak much within compass) ten times 
more than those which are yielded by an acre 
of land of an equal richness lying waste in 
common. And therefore he that incloses land, 
and has a greater plenty of the conveniences of 
life from ten acres, than he could have from an 
hundred left to nature, may truly be said to 
give ninety acres to mankind : for his labour 
now supplies him with provisions out of ten 
acres, which were but the product of an hun- 
dred lying in common. I have here rated the 
improved land very low, in making its product 
but as ten to one, when it is much nearer an 
hundred to one : for I ask, whether in the wild 


woods and uncultivated waste of America, left 
to nature, without any improvement, tillage or 
husbandry, a thousand acres yield the needy 
and wretched inhabitants as many conveniences 
of life, as ten acres of equally fertile land do in 
Devonshire, where they are well cultivated. 

Before the appropriation of land, he who 
gathered as much of the wild fruit, killed, 
caught, or tamed, as many of the beasts, as he 
could; he that so employed his pains about 
any of the spontaneous products of nature, as 
any way to alter them from the state which 
nature put them in, by placing any of his labour 
on them, did thereby acquire a propriety in 
them', but if they perished, in his possession, 
without their due use; if the fruits rotted, or 
the venison putrified, before he could spend it, 
he offended against the common law of nature, 
and was liable to be punished ; he invaded his 
neighbour's share ; for lie had no right farther 
than his own use called, for any of them, and 
they might serve to afford him conveniences 
of life. 

§. 38. The same measures governed the pos- 
session of land too : whatsoever he tilled and 
reaped, laid up and made use of, before it 
spoiled, that was his peculiar right ; whatso- 
ever he enclosed, and could feed, and make 
use of, the cattle and product was also his. 
But if either the grass of his inclosure rotted 
on the ground, or the fruit of his planting 
perished without gathering, and laying up, this 


part of the earth, notwithstanding his inclosure, 
was still to be looked on as waste, and might 
be the possession of any other. Thus, at the 
beginning, Cain might take as much ground 
as he could till, and make it his own land, and 
yet leave enough to Abels sheep to feed on ; 
a few acres would serve for both their posses- 
sions. But as families increased, and industry 
enlarged their stocks, their possessions enlarged 
with the need of them ; but yet it was common- 
ly without any fixed property in the ground 
they made use of, till they incorporated, settled 
themselves together, and built cities ; and then, 
by consent, they came in time, to set out the 
bounds of their distinct territories, and agree 
on limits between them and their neighbours ; 
and by laws within themselves, settled the 
properties of those of the same society : for we 
see, that in that part of the world which was 
first inhabited, and therefore like to be best 
peopled, even as low down as Abraham s time, 
they wandered with their flocks, and their 
herds, which was their substance, freely up 
and down ; and this Abraham did, in a country 
where he was a stranger. Whence it is plain, 
that at least a great part of the land lay in 
common ; that the inhabitants valued it not, 
nor claimed property in any more than they 
made use of. But when there was not room 
enough in the same place, for their herds to 
feed together, they by consent, as Abraham 
and Lot did, Gen. xiii. 5. separated and en- 


larged (heir pasture, where it best liked them. 
And for the same reason Esau went from his 
father, and his brother, and planted in mount 
Seir, Gen. xxxvi. 6. 

§. 39. And thus, without supposing any pri- 
vate dominion, and property in Adam, over all 
the world, exclusive of all other men, which 
ran no way be proved, nor any ones property 
be made out from it ; but supposing - the world 
given, as it was, to the children of men in com- 
mon, we see how labour could make men dis- 
tinct titles to several parcels of it, for their 
private uses ; wherein there could be no doubt 
of right, no room for quarrel. 

§. 40. Nor is it so strange, as perhaps before 
consideration it may appear, that the property 
of labour should be able to over-balance the 
community of land : for it is labour indeed that 
puts the difference of value on every thing ; and 
let any one consider what the difference is 
between an acre of land planted with tobacco 
or sugar, sown with wheat or barley, and an 
acre of the same land lying in common, with- 
out any husbandry upon it, and he will find, 
that the improvement of labour makes the far 
greater part of the value. I think it will be 
but a very modest computation to say, that 
of the products of the earth useful to the life of 
man nine tenths are the effects of labour: nay, 
if we will rightly estimate things as they come 
to our use, and cast up the several expences 
about them, what in them is purely owing to 


nature, and what to labour, we shall find, that 
in most of them ninety-nine hundredths are 
wholly to be put on the account of labour. 

§.41. There cannot be a clearer demon- 
stration of any thing, than several nations of 
the Americans are of this, who are rich in land, 
and poor in all the comforts of life ; whom na- 
ture having furnished as liberally as any other 
people, with the materials of plenty, t. e. a 
fruitful soil, apt to produce in abundance, what 
might serve for food, raiment, and delight; yet 
for want of improving it by labour, have not 
one hundredth part of the conveniencies we 
enjoy; and a king of a large and fruitful terri- 
tory there, feeds, lodges, and is clad worse 
than a day-labourer in England. 

§. 42. To make this a little clearer, let us 
but trace some of the ordinary provisions of 
life through their several progresses, before 
they come to our use, and see how much they 
receive of their value from human industry. 
Bread, wine and cloth, are things of daily use, 
and great plenty ; yet notwithstanding, acorns, 
water and leaves, or skins, must be our bread, 
drink and cloathing, did not labour furnish us 
with these more useful commodities : for what- 
ever bread is more worth than acorns, wine 
than water, and cloth or silk, than leaves, skins 
or moss, that is wholly owing to labour and 
industry ; the one of these being the food and 
raiment which unassisted nature furnishes us 
with ; the other, provisions which our industry 


and pains prepare for us, which how much 
they exceed the other in value, when any one 
hath computed, he will then see how much 
labour makes the far greatest part of the value 
of things we enjoy in this world : and the 
ground which produces the materials, is scarce 
to be reckoned in, as any, or at most, but a 
very small part of it; so little, that even amongst 
us, land left wholly to nature, that hath no im- 
provement of pasturage, tillage, or planting, is 
called, as indeed it is, ivaste; and we shall 
find the benefit of it amount to little more than 

This shews how much numbers of men are 
to be preferred to largeness of dominions ; and 
that the increase of lands, and the right em- 
ploying of them, is the great art of government: 
and that prince, who shall be so wise and god- 
like, as by established laws of liberty to secure 
protection and encouragement to the honest 
industry of mankind, against the oppression of 
power and narrowness of party, will quickly 
be too hard for his neighbours: but this by the 
by. To return to the argument in hand, 

§. 43. An acre of land, that bears here 
twenty bushels of wheat, and another in Ame- 
rica, which with the same husbandry, would 
do the like, are, without doubt, of the same 
natural intrinsic value : but yet the benefit 
mankind receives from one in a year, is worth 
51. and from the other possibly not worth a 
penny, if all the profit an Indian received from 


it were to be valued and sold here ; at least I 
may truly say, not one thousandth. It is 
labour then which puts the greatest part of value 
upon land, without which it would scarcely be 
worth any thing: it is to that we owe the 
greatest part of all its useful products ; for all 
that the straw, bran, bread, of that acre of 
wheat, is more worth than the product of an 
acre of as good land, which lies waste, is all 
the effect of labour: for it is not barely the 
ploughman's pains, the reaper's and thresher's 
toil, and the baker's sweat, is to be counted 
into the bread we eat; the labour of those who 
broke the oxen, who digged and wrought the 
iron and stones, who felled and framed the 
timber employed about the plough, mill, oven, 
or any other utensils, which are a vast number, 
requisite to this corn, from its being seed to be 
sown to its being made bread, must all be 
charged on the account of labour, and received 
as an effect of that : nature and the earth fur- 
nished only the almost worthless materials, as 
in themselves. It would be a strange catalogue 
of things, that industry provided and made use of 
about every loaf of bread, before it came to our 
use, if we could trace them ; iron, wood, leather, 
bark, timber, stone, bricks, coals, lime, cloth, 
dying drugs, pitch, tar, masts, ropes, and all 
the materials made use of in the ship, that 
brought any of the commodities made use of by 
any of the workmen, toany part of the work ; all 
which it would be almost impossible, at least 
too long to reckon up. 


§. 44. From all which it is evident, that 
though the things of nature are given in com- 
mon, yet man, by being master of himself, and 
proprietor of his own person, and the actions or 
labour of it, had still in himself the great foun- 
dation of property ; and that, which made up 
the great part of what he applied to the sup- 
port or comfort of his being, when invention 
and arts had improved theconveniencies of life, 
was perfectly his own, and did not belong in 
common to others. 

§. 45. Thus labour, in the beginning, gave a 
right of property, wherever any one was pleased 
to employ it upon what was common, which 
remained a long while the far greater part, and 
is yet more than mankind makes use of. Men, 
at first, for the most part, contented themselves 
with what unassisted nature offered to their 
necessities ; and though afterwards, in some 
parts of the world, (where the increase of 
people and stock, with the use of money, had 
made land scarce, and so of some value) the 
several communities settled the bounds of their 
distinct territories, and by laws within them- 
selves regulated the properties of the private 
men of their society, and so, by compact and 
agreement, settled the property which labour 
and industry began ; and the leagues that have 
been made between several states and king- 
doms, either expressly or tacitly disowning all 
claim and right to the land in the others posses- 
sion, have, by common consent, given up their 



pretences to their natural common right, which 
originally they had to those countries, and so 
have, by positive agreement, settled a property 
amongst themselves, in distinct parts and par- 
cels of the earth ; yet there are still great tracts 
of ground to be found, which (the inhabitants 
thereof not having joined with the rest of man- 
kind, in the consent of the use of their common 
money) lie tvaste, and are more than the people 
who dwell on it do, or can make use of, and 
so still lie in common ; though this can scarce 
happen amongst that part of mankind that have 
consented to the use of money. 

§. 46. The greatest part of things really 
useful to the life of man, and such as the neces- 
sity of subsisting made the first commoners of 
the world look after, as it doth the Americans 
now, are generally things of short duration! 
such as, if they are not consumed by use, will 
decay and perish of themselves : gold, silver, 
and diamonds, are things that fancy or agree- 
ment hath put the value on, more than real use, 
and the necessary support of life. Now of 
those good things which nature hath provided 
in common, every one had a right (as hath been 
said) to as much as he could use, and property 
in all that he could effect with his labour ; all 
that his industry could extend to, to alter from 
the state nature had put it in, was his. He that 
gathered a hundred bushels of acorns or apples, 
had thereby a property in them, they were his 
goods as soon as gathered. He was only to 


look, lhat he used them before they spoiled, 
else he took more than his share, and robbed 
others. And indeed it was a foolish thing, as 
well as dishonest, to hoard up more than he 
could make use of. If he gave away a part to 
any body else, so that it perished not uselessly 
in his possession, these he also made use of. 
And if he also bartered away plums, that would 
have rotted in a week, for nuts that would last 
good for his eating a whole year, he did no 
injury ; he wasted not the common stock ; 
destroyed no part of the portion of goods that 
belonged to others, so long as nothing perished 
uselessly in his hand. Again, if he would give 
his nuts for a piece of metal, pleased with its 
colour; or exchange his sheep for shells, or 
wool for a sparkling pebble or a diamond, and 
keep those by him all his life, he invaded not 
the right of others, he might heap up as much 
of these durable things as he pleased : the ex- 
ceeding of the bounds of his just property not 
lying in the largeness of his possession, but the 
perishing of any thing uselessly in it. 

§. 47. And thus came in the use of money, 
some lasting thing that men might keep 
without spoiling, and that by mutual consent 
men would take in exchange for the truly 
useful, but perishable supports of life. 

§. 48. And as different degrees of industry 

were apt to give men possessions in different 

proportions, so this invention of money gave 

them the opportunity to continue and enlarge 

* q 2 

228 Of civil GOVERNMENT. 

them : for supposing an island, separate from 
all possible commerce with the rest of the 
world, wherein there were but an hundred 
families, but there were sheep, horses, and 
cows, with other useful animals, wholesome 
fruits, and land enough for corn for a hundred 
thousand times as many, but nothing in the 
island, either because of its commonness, or 
perishableness, fit to supply the place of money ; 
what reason could any one have there to en- 
large his possessions beyond the use of his 
family, and a plentiful supply to its consumption, 
either in what their own industry produced, or 
they could barter for like perishable, useful 
commodities with others? Where there is not 
some thing, both lasting and scarce, and so 
valuable to be hoarded up, there men will be 
apt to enlarge their possessions of land, were 
it never so rich, never so free for them to take: 
for I ask, what would a man value ten thou- 
sand, or an hundred thousand acres of excel- 
lent land, ready cultivated, and well stocked 
too with cattle, in the middle of the inland parts 
of America, where he had no hopes of com- 
merce with other parts of the world, to draw 
money to him by the sale of the product? It 
would not be worth the inclosing, and we 
should see him give up again to the wild com- 
mon of nature, whatever was more than would 
supply the conveniencies of life to be had there 
for him and his family. 

§. 49. Thus in the beginning all the world 


was America, and more so than that is now ; 
for no such thing- as money was any where 
known. Find out something that hath the 
use and value of money amongst his neighbours, 
you shall see the same man will begin presently 
to enlarge his possessions. 

§. 50. But since gold and silver, being little 
useful to the life of men in proportion to food, 
raiment, and carriage, has its value only from 
the consent of men, whereof labour yet makes y 
in great part, the measure, it is plain, that men 
have agreed to a disproportionate and unequal 
possession of the earth, they having, by a tacit 
and voluntary consent, found out a way how a 
man may fairly possess more land than he him- 
self can use the product of, by receiving in ex- 
change for the overplus gold and silver, which 
may be hoarded up without injury to any one; 
these metals not spoiling or decaying in the 
hands of the possessor. This partage of things 
in an equality of private possessions, men have 
made practicable out of the bounds of society, 
and without compact, only by putting a value 
on gold and silver, and tacitly agreeing in the use 
of money : for in governments, the laws regu- 
late the right of property, and the possession 
of land is determined by positive constitutions. 

§. 51. And thus, I think, it is very easy to 
conceive, without any difficulty, how labour 
could at first begin a title to property in the 
common things of nature, and how the spending 
it upon our uses bounded it, 80 that there 


could then be no reason of quarrelling about 
title, nor any doubt about the largeness of pos- 
session it gave. Right and conveniency went 
together ; for as a man had a right to all he 
could employ his labour upon, so he had no 
temptation to labour for more than he could 
make use of. This left no room for controversy 
about the title, nor for incroachment on the 
right of others ; what portion a man carved to 
himself was easily seen; and it was useless, as 
well as dishonest, to carve himself too much, 
or take more than he needed. 


Of Paternal Power. 

§, 52. It may perhaps be censured as an im- 
pertinent criticism, in a discourse of this nature, 
to find fault with words and names, that have 
obtained in the world : and yet possibly it may 
not be amiss to offer new ones, when the old 
are apt to lead men into mistakes, as this of 
j)atemal power probably has done, which seems 
so to place the power of parents over their 
children wholly in the father, as if the mother 
had no share in it ; whereas, if we consult rea- 
son or revelation, we shall find, she hath an 
equal title. This may give one reason to ask, 
whether this might not be more properly called 
parental power? for whatever obligation nature 
and the right of generation lays on children, it 


must certainly bind them equal to both the 
concurrent causes of it. And accordingly we 
see the positive law of God every where joins 
them together, without distinction, when it 
commands the obedience of children, Honour 
thy father and thy mother, Exod. xx. 12. 
Whosoever curseth his father or his mother, 
Lev. xx. 0. Ye shall fear every man his mother 
and his father, Lev. xix. 3. Children, obey 
your parents, &c. Eph. vi. 1. is the stile of the 
Old and New Testament. 

§. 53. Had but this one thing been well con- 
sidered, without looking any deeper into the 
matter, it might perhaps have kept men from 
running into those gross mistakes, they have 
made, about this power of parents ; which, 
however it might, without any great harshness, 
bear the name of absolute dominion, and regal 
authority, when under the title of paternal 
power it seemed appropriated to the father, 
would yet have sounded but oddly, and in the 
very name shewn the absurdity, if this sup- 
posed absolute power over children had been 
called parental; and thereby have discovered, 
that it belonged to the mother too : for it will 
but very ill serve the turn of those men, who 
contend so much for the absolute power and 
authority of the fatherhood, as they call it, that 
the mother should have any share in it; and it 
woidd have but ill supported the monarchy 
they contend for, when by the very name it 
appeared, that that fundamental authority, 


from whence they would derive their govern- 
ment of a single person only, was not placed in 
one, but two persons jointly. But to let this 
of names pass. 

§. 54. Though I have said above, Chap. II. 
That all men by nature are equal, I cannot be 
supposed to understand all sorts of equality : 
age or virtue may give men a just precedency : 
excellency of parts and merit may place others 
above the common level : birth may subject 
some, and alliance or benefits others, to pay an 
observance to those whom nature, gratitude, 
or other respects, may have made it due : and 
yet all this consists with the equality, which all 
men are in, in respect of jurisdiction or domi- 
nion one over another ; which was the equality 
I there spoke of, as proper to the business in 
hand, being that equal right, that every man 
hath, to his natural freedom, without being sub- 
jected to the will or authority of any other 

§. 55. Children, I confess, are not born in 
this full state of equality, though they are born 
to it. Their parents have a sort of rule and 
jurisdiction over them, when they come into the 
world, and for some time after; but it is but a 
temporary one. The bonds of this subjection 
are like the swaddling clothes they are wrapt 
up in, and supported by, in the weakness of 
their infancy : age and reason, as they grow 
up, loosen them, till at length they drop quite 
off, and leave a man at his own free disposal. 


§. 56. Adam was created a perfect man, his 
body and mind in full possession of their 
strength and reason, and so was capable, from 
the first instant of his being to provide for his 
own support and preservation, and govern his 
actions according to the dictates of the law of 
reason which God had implanted in him. From 
him the world is peopled with his descendants, 
who are all born infants, weak and helpless, 
without knowledge or understanding: but to 
supply the defects of this imperfect state, till 
the improvement of growth and age hath re- 
moved them, Adam and Eve, and after them 
all parents were, by the law of nature, tinder 
an obligation to preserve, nourish, and educate 
the children they had begotten; not as their 
own workmanship, but the workmanship of 
their own maker, the Almighty, to whom they 
were to be accountable for them. 

§. 57. The law, that was to govern Adam, 
was the same that was to govern all his pos- 
terity, the law of reason. But his offspring 
having another way of entrance into the world, 
different from him, by a natural birth, that 
produced them ignorant and without the use 
of reason, they were not presently under that 
law; for no body can be under a law, which 
is not promulgated to him ; and by this law 
being promulgated or made known by reason 
only, he that is not come to the use of his rea- 
son, cannot be said to be under this law ; and 
Adam's children, being not presently as soon as 


born under this law of reason, were not pre- 
se\\t\y free: for law, in its true notion, is not so 
much the limitation as the direction of a free 
and intelligent agent to his proper interest, and 
prescribes no farther than is for the general 
good of those under that law: could they be 
happier without it, the law, as an useless thing-, 
would of itself vanish ; and that ill deserves 
the name of confinement which hedges us in 
only from bogs and precipices. So that, 
however it may be mistaken, the end of law is 
not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and 
enlarge freedom : for in all the states of created 
beings capable of laws, where there is no law, 
there is no freedom: fox liberty is, to be free 
from restraint and violence from others ; which 
cannot be, where there is no law : but freedom 
is not, as we are told, a liberty for every man to 
do what he lists: (for who could be free, when 
every other mans humour might domineer over 
him ?) but a liberty to dispose and order as he 
lists, his person, actions, possessions, and his 
whole property, within the allowance of those 
laws under which he is, and therein not to be 
subject to the arbitrary will of another, but 
freely follow his own. 

§. 58. The power, then, that parents have 
over their children, arises from that duty which 
is incumbent on them, to take care of their 
offspring, during the imperfect state of child- 
hood. To inform the mind, and govern the 
actions of their yet ignorant non-age, till reason 


shall take its place, and ease them of that 
trouble, is what the children want, and the 
parents are bound to ; for God having given 
man an understanding to direct his actions, 
has allowed him a freedom of will, and liberty 
of acting, as properly belonging thereunto, 
within the bounds of that law he is under. But 
whilst he is in an estate, wherein he has not 
understanding of his own to direct his will, he 
is not to have any ivill of his own to follow : 
he that understands for him, must will for him 
too ; he must prescribe to his will, and regulate 
his actions ; but when he comes to the estate 
that made his father a free man, the son is a 
free man too. 

§. 59. This holds in all the laws a man is 
under, whether natural or civil. Is a man 
under the law of nature? What made him free 
of that law? what gave him a free disposing of 
his property, according to his own will, within 
the compass of that law ? I answer, a state of 
maturity wherein he might be supposed 
capable to know that law, that so he might 
keep his actions within the bounds of it. When 
he has acquired that state, he is presumed to 
know how far that law is to be his guide, and 
how far he may make use of his freedom, and 
so comes to have it; till then, somebody else 
must guide him, who is presumed to know how 
far the law allows a liberty. If such a state of 
reason, such an age of discretion made him free, 
the same shall make his son free loo. Js a man 


under the law of England? What made him 
free of that law ? that is, to have the liberty to 
dispose of his actions and possessions accord- 
ing to his own will, within the permission of 
that law? A capacity of knowing* that law; 
which is supposed by that law, at the age of 
one-and-twenty years, and in some cases 
sooner. If this" made the father free, it shall 
make the son free too. Till then we see the 
law allows the son to have no will, but he is 
to be guided by the will of his father or guar- 
dian, who is to understand for him. And if 
the father die, and fail to substitute a deputy in 
his trust; if he hath not provided a tutor, to 
govern his son, during his minority, during his 
want of understanding, the law takes care to do 
it; some other must govern him, and be a will 
to him, till he hath attained to a state of freedom, 
and his understanding be fit to take the govern- 
ment of his will. But after that, the father 
and son are equally free as much as pupil and 
tutor after non-age; equally subjects of the 
same law together, without any dominion left 
in the father over the life, liberty, or estate of 
his son, whether they be only in the state and 
under the law of nature, or under the positive 
laws of an established government. 

§. 60. But if, through defects that may 
happen out of the ordinary course of nature, 
any one conies not to such a degree of reason, 
wherein he might be supposed capable of 
knowing the law, and so living within the rules 


of it, he is never capable of being a free man, 
he is never let loose to the disposure of his 
own will (because he knows no bounds to it, 
has not understanding, its proper guide) but is 
continued under the tuition and government 
of others, all the time his own understanding is 
uncapable of that charge. And so lunatics and 
ideots are never set free from the government 
of their parents; children, who are not as yet 
come unto those years whereat they may have ; 
and innocents which are excluded by a natural 
defect from, ever having; thirdly, madmen, 
which for the present cannot jwssibly have the 
use of right reason to guide themselves, have for 
their guide, the reasoji that guideth other men 
which are tutors over them, to seek and procure 
their good for them, says Hooker, Eccl. Pol. 
lib. i. sect. 7. All which seems no more than 
that duty, which God and nature has laid on 
man, as well as other creatures, to preserve 
their off-spring, till they can be able to shift for 
themselves, and will scarce amount to an 
instance or proof of parents regal authority. 

§.61. Thus we are born free, as we are born 
rational ; not that we have actually the exer- 
cise of either: age, that brings one, brings with 
it the other too. And thus we see how natural 
freedom and subjection to parents may consist 
together, and are both founded on the sameprin- 
ciple. A child isyreeby his father's title, by his 
father's understanding, which is to govern him 
till lie hath it of his own. Thefreedom of a man 


at years of discretion, and the subjection of a 
child to his parents whilst yet short of that age, 
are so consistent, and so distinguishable, that 
the most blinded contenders for monarchy, by 
right of fatherhood, cannot miss this difference ; 
the most obstinate cannot but allow their con- 
sistency : for were their doctrine all true, were 
the right heir of Adam now known, and by 
that title settled a monarch in his throne, in- 
vested with all the absolute unlimited power 
Sir Robert Filmer talks of; if he should die as 
soon as his heir were born, must not the child, 
notwithstanding he were never so free, never so 
much sovereign, be in subjection to his mother 
and nurse, to tutors and governors, till age and 
education brought him reason and ability to 
govern himself and others? The necessities of 
his life, the health of his body, and the infor- 
mation of his mind, would require him to be 
directed by the will of others, and not his own; 
and yet will any one think, that this restraint 
and subjection were inconsistent with, or 
spoiled him of that liberty or sovereignty he 
had a right to, or gave away his empire to those 
who had the government of his non-age? This 
government over him only prepared him the 
better and sooner for it. If any body should 
ask me, when my son is of age to be free? I 
shall answer, just when his monarch is of age 
to govern. Hut at ichat time, says the judicious 
Hooker, Eccl. Pol. 1. i. sect. G. a man may be 
said to have attained so far forth the use of 


reason, as snfficclh to make him capable of those 
laws whereby he is then bound to guide his 
actions: this is a great deal more easy for sense 
to discern, than for any one by skill and learn- 
ing to determine. 

%. G2. Commonwealths themselves take no- 
tice of, and allow, that there is a time when 
men are to begin to act like free men, and there- 
fore till that time require not oaths of fealty, 
or allegiance, or other public owning- of, or 
submission to the government of their countries. 

§. 03. The freedom then of man, and liberty 
of acting according to his own will, is grounded 
on his having reason, which is able to instruct 
him in that law he is to govern himself by, and 
make him know how far he is left to the freedom 
of his own will. To turn him loose to an un- 
restrained liberty, before he has reason to 
guide him, is not the allowing him the privilege 
of his nature to be free; but to thrust him out 
amongst brutes, and abandon him to a state as 
wretched, and as much beneath that of a man, 
as their's. This is that which puts the autho- 
rity into the parents hands to govern the 
minority of their children. God hath made it 
their business to employ this care on their off- 
spring, and hath placed in them suitable incli- 
nations of tenderness and concern to temper 
this power, to apply it, as his wisdom designed 
it, to the children's good, as long as they 
should need to be under it. 

§. 64. But what reason can hence advance 


this care of the parents due to their offspring 
into an absolute arbitary dominion of the father, 
whose power reaches no farther than by such a 
discipline, as he finds most effectual, to give 
such strength and health to their bodies, such 
vigour and rectitude to their minds, as may 
best fit his children to be most useful to them- 
selves and others ; and, if it be necessary to 
his condition, to make them work, when they 
are able, for their own subsistence. But in 
this power the mother too has her share with 
the father. 

§. 65. Nay, this power so little belongs to 
the father by any peculiar right of nature, but 
only as he is guardian of his children, that 
when he quits his care of them, he loses his 
power over them, which goes along with their 
nourishment and education, to which it is in- 
separably annexed ; and it belongs as much to 
the foster-father of an exposed child, as to the 
natural father of another. So little power does 
the bare act of begetting- give a man over his 
issue ; if all his care ends there, and this be 
all the title he hath to the name and authority 
of a father. And what will become of this 
paternal power in that part of the world, where 
one woman hath more than one husband at a 
time? or in those parts of America, where, 
when the husband and wife part, which hap- 
pens frequently, the children are all left to the 
mother, follow her, and are wholly under her 
care and provision? If the father die whilst 


the children are young, do they not naturally 
every where owe the same obedience to their 
mother, during their minority, as to their father 
were he alive? and will any one say, that the 
mother hath a legislative power over her 
children? that she can make standing rules, 
which shall be of perpetual obligation, by which 
they ought to regulate all the concerns of their 
property, and bound their liberty all the course 
of their lives? or can she inforce the observa- 
tion of them with capital punishments? for this 
is the proper power of the magistrate, of which 
the father hath not so much as the shadow. 
His command over his children is but tempo- 
rary, and reaches not their life or property : it 
is but a help to the weakness and imperfection 
of their non-age, a discipline necessary to their 
education.: and though a father may dispose 
of his own possessions as he pleases, when his 
children are out of danger of perishing for want, 
yet his power extends not to the lives or goods, 
which either their own industry, or another's 
bounty has made their's ; nor to their liberty 
neither, when they are once arrived to the in- 
franchisement of the years of discretion. The 
father s empire then ceases, and he can from 
thence forwards no more dispose of the liberty 
of his son, than that of any other man : and it 
must be far from an absolute or perpetual juris- 
diction, from which a man may withdraw him- 
self, having licence from divine authority to 
leave father and mother, and cleave to his ivife. 



§. 66. But though there be a time when a 
child comes to be as free from subjection to the 
will and command of his father, as the father 
himself is free from subjection to the will of 
any body else, and they are each under no other 
restraint, but that which is common to them 
both, whether it be the law of nature, or munici- 
pal law of their country ; yet this freedom 
exempts not a son from that honour which he 
ought, by the law of God and nature, to pay 
his parents. God having made the parents 
instruments in his great design of continuing the 
race of mankind, and the occasions of life to 
their children: as he hath laid on them an 
obligation to nourish, preserve, and bring up 
their offspring ; so he has laid on the children a 
perpetual obligation of honouring their jicwents, 
which containing in it an inward esteem and 
reverence to be shewn by all outward expres- 
sions, ties up the child from any thing that may 
ever injure or affront, disturb or endanger, the 
happiness or life of those from whom he 
received his ; and engages him in all actions of 
defence, relief, assistance and comfort of those, 
by whose means he entered into being, and has 
been made capable of any enjoyments of life : 
from this obligation no state, no freedom can 
absolve children. But this is very far from 
giving parents a power of command over their 
children, or an authority to make laws and 
dispose as they please of their lives or liberties. 
It is one thing to owe honour, respect, gratitude 


and assistance; another to require an absolute 
obedience and submission. The honour due to 
parents, a monarch in his throne owes his 
mother ; and yet this lessens not his authority, 
nor subjects him to her government. 

§. 67. The subjection of a minor places in 
the father a temporary government, which ter- 
minates with the minority of the child : and the 
honour due from a child places in the parents a 
perpetual right to respect, reverence, support 
and compliance too, more or less, as the fa- 
ther's care, cost, and kindness in his education, 
has been more or less. This ends not with 
minority, but holds in all parts and conditions 
of a man's life. The want of distinguishing 
these two powers, viz. that which the father 
hath in the right of tuition, during minority, 
and the right of honour all his life, may per- 
haps have caused a great part of the mistakes 
about this matter : for to speak properly of 
them, the first of these is rather the privilege 
of children, and duty of parents, than any 
prerogative of paternal power. The nourish- 
ment and education of their children is a 
charge so incumbent on parents for their chil- 
dren's good, that nothing can absolve them 
from taking care of it : and though the power 
of commanding and chastising- them go along 
with it, yet God hath woven into the principles 
of humam nature such a tenderness for their 
offspring, that there is little fear that parents 
should use their power with too much rigour ; 

r 2 


the excess is seldom on the severe side, the 
strong bias of nature drawing the other way. 
And therefore God Almighty when he would 
express his gentle dealing with the Israelites, 
he tells them, that though he chastened them, 
he chastens them as a man chastens his son, 
Deut. viii. 5. i. e. with tenderness and affec- 
tion, and kept them under no severer discipline 
than what was absolutely best for them, and 
had been less kindness to have slackened. 
This is that power to which children are com- 
manded obedience, that the pains and care of 
their parents may not be increased, or ill 

§. 68. On the other side, honour and support, 
all that which gratitude requires to return for 
the benefits received by and from them, is the 
indispensible duty of the child, and the proper 
privilege of the parents. This is intended for 
the parent's advantage, as the other is for the 
child's ; though education, the parent's duty, 
seems to have most power, because the igno- 
rance and infirmities of childhood stand in 
need of restraint and correction ; which is a 
visible exercise of rule, and a kind of do- 
minion. And that duty which is comprehen- 
ded in the word honour requires less obedience, 
though the obligation be stronger on grown, 
than younger children : for who can think the 
command, Children obey your parents, requires 
in a man, that has children of his own, the 
same submission to his father, as it does in his 


yet young children to him ; and that by this 
precept he were bound to obey all his lather's 
commands, if, out of a conceit of authority, he 
should have the indiscretion to treat him still 
as a boy ? 

§. 69. The first part then of paternal power, 
or rather duty, which is education, belongs so 
to the father, that it terminates at a certain 
season ; when the business of education is 
over, it ceases of itself, and is also alienable 
before: for a man may put the tuition of his 
son in other hands ; and he that has made his 
son an apprentice to another, has discharged 
him, during that time, of a great part of his 
obedience both to himself and to his mother. 
But all the duty of honour, the other part, 
remains nevertheless entire to them ; nothing- 
can cancel that : it is so inseparable from them 
both, that the father's authority cannot dis- 
possess the mother of this right, nor can any 
man discharge his son from honouring her that 
bore him. But both these are very far from a 
power to make laws, and inforcing them with 
penalties, that may reach estate, liberty, limbs 
and life. The power of commanding ends 
with non-age; and though, after that, honour 
and respect, support and defence, and what- 
soever gratitude can oblige a man to, for the 
highest benefits he is naturally capable of, be 
always due from a son to his parents,; yet all 
this puts no sceptre into the father's hand, no 
sovereign power of commanding. He has no 


dominion over his son's property, or actions ; 
nor any right, that his will should prescribe to 
his son's in all things ; however it may become 
his son in many things, not very inconvenient 
to him and his family, to pay a deference 
to it. 

§. 70. A man may owe honour and respect 
to an ancient, or wise man; defence to his 
child or friend ; relief and support to the dis- 
tressed ; and gratitude to a benefactor, to 
such a degree, that all he has, all he can do, 
cannot sufficiently pay it : but all these give 
no authority, no right to any one, of making 
laws over him from whom they are owing. 
And it is plain, all this is due not only to the 
bare title of father ; not only because, as has 
been said, it is owing to the mother too ; but 
because these obligations to parents, and de- 
grees of what is required of children, may be 
varied by the different care and kindness, 
trouble and expence, which is often employed 
upon one child more than another. 

§.71. This shews the reason how it comes 
to pass, that parents in societies, where they 
themselves are subjects, retain a power over 
their children, and have as much right to their 
subjection, as those who are in a state of 
nature. Which could not possibly be, if all 
political power were only paternal, and that in 
truth they were one and the same thing : for 
then, all paternal power being in the prince, 
the subject could naturally have none of it. 


But these two powers, political and paternal, 
are so perfectly distinct and separate ; are built 
upon so different foundations, and given to so 
different ends, that every subject, that is a 
father, has as much a paternal power over his 
children, as the prince has over his : and every 
prince, that has parents, owes them as much 
filial duty and obedience, as the meanest of 
his subjects do theirs ; and can therefore 
contain not any part or degree of that kind of 
dominion, which a prince or magistrate has 
over his subject. 

§. 72. Though the obligation on the parents 
to bring up their children, and the obligation 
on children to honour their parents, contain all 
the power on the one hand, and submission on 
the other, which are proper to this relation, 
yet there is another power ordinarily in the 
father, whereby he has a tie on the obedience 
of his children ; which though it be common 
to him with other men, yet the occasions of 
shewing it, almost constantly happening to 
fathers in their private families, and the in- 
stances of it elsewhere being rare, and less 
taken notice of, it passes in the world for a 
part of paternal jurisdiction. And this is the 
power men generally have to bestow their es- 
tates on those who please them best ; the 
possession of the father being the expectation 
and inheritance of the children, ordinarily in 
certain proportions, according to the law and 
custom of each country ; yet it is commonly 


in the father's power to bestow it with a more 
sparing or liberal hand, according as the be- 
haviour of this or that child hath comported 
with his will and humour. 

§. 73. This is no small tie on the obedience 
of children : and there being always annexed 
to the enjoyment of land, a submission to the 
government of the country, of which that land 
is a part; it has been commonly supposed, 
that a. father could oblige his posterity to that 
government, of which he himself was a subject, 
and that his compact held them ; whereas, it 
being only a necessary condition annexed to 
the land, and the inheritance of an estate 
which is under that government, reaches only 
those who will take it on that condition, and 
so is no natural tie or engagement, but a volun- 
tary submission : for every mans children being 
by nature as free as himself, or any of his an- 
cestors ever were, may, whilst they are in that 
freedom, choose what society they will join 
themselves to, what commonwealth they will 
put themselves under. But if they will enjoy 
the inheritance of their ancestors, they must 
take it on the same terms their ancestors had 
it, and submit to all the conditions annexed to 
such a possession. By this power indeed 
fathers oblige their children to obedience to 
themselves, even when they are past minority, 
and most commonly too subject them to this 
or that political power, but neither of these by 
any peculiar right of fatherhood, but by the 


reward they have in their hands to inforce and 
recompence such a compliance; and is no 
more power than what a French man has over 
an English man, who, by the hopes of an 
estate he will leave him, will certainly have a 
strong tie on his obedience : and if, when it is 
left him, he will enjoy it, he must certainly 
take it upon the conditions annexed to the 
possession of land in that country where it lies, 
whether it be France or England. 

§. 74. To conclude then, though the father s 
power of commanding extends no farther than 
the minority of his children, and to a degree 
only fit for the discipline and government of 
that age ; and though that honour and respect, 
and all that which the Latins called piety, 
which they indispensibly owe to their parents 
all their life time, and in all estates, with all 
that support and defence is due to them, gives 
the father no power of governing, i. e. making- 
laws and enacting penalties on his children ; 
though by all this he has no dominion over the 
property or actions of his son : yet it is obvious 
to conceive how easy it was, in the first ages 
of the world, and in places still, where the 
thinness of people gives families leave to se- 
parate into unpossessed quarters, and they 
have room to remove or plant themselves in yet 
vacant habitations, for the father of the family 
to become the prince of it ;* he had been a 

* It is no improbable opinion therefore, which the arch- 
philosopher was of, that the chief person in every household 


ruler from the beginning of the infancy of his 
children : and since without some government 
it would be hard for them to live together, it 
was likeliest it should, by the express or tacit 
consent of the children when they were grown 
up, be in the father, where it seemed without 
any change barely to continue ; when indeed 
nothing more was required to it, than the per- 
mitting the father to exercise alone, in his 
family, that executive power of the law of na- 
ture, which every free man naturally hath, and 
by that permission resigning up to him a mo- 
narchical power, whilst they remained in it. 
But that this was not by any paternal right, 
but only by the consent of his children, is evi- 
dent from hence, that no body doubts, but if a 
stranger, whom chance or business had brought 

was always, as it were, a king : so when numbers of house- 
holds joined themselves in civil societies together, kings 
were the first kind of governors amongst them, which is also, 
as it seemeth, the reason why the name of fathers continued 
still in them, who, of fathers, were made rulers ; as also the 
ancient custom of governors to do as Aldchisedec, and being 
kings, to exercise the office of priests, which fathers did at 
the first, grew perhaps by the same occasion. Howbeit, this 
is not the only kind of regiment that has been received in 
the world. The inconveniences of one kind have caused 
sundry others to be devised ; so that in a word, all public 
regiment, of what kind soever, seemeth evidently to have 
risen from the deliberate advice, consultation and compo- 
sition between men, judging it convenient and behovcful ; 
there being no impossibility in nature considered by itself, 
but that man might have lived without any public regiment. 
Hookers Ecd. P. lib. i. Sect. 10. 


to his family, had there killed any of his chil- 
dren, or committed any other fact, he might 
condemn and put him to death, or otherwise 
have punished him, as well as any of his chil- 
dren ; which it was impossible he should do by 
virtue of any paternal authority over one who 
was not his child, but by virtue of that execu- 
tive power of the law of nature, which, as a 
man, he had a right to : and he alone could 
punish him in his family, where the respect of 
his children had laid by the exercise of such a 
power, to give way to the dignity and authority 
they were willing should remain in him, above 
the rest of his family. 

§. 75. Thus it was easy, and almost natural 
for children, by a tacit, and scarce avoidable 
consent, to make way for the father 's authority 
and government. They had been accustomed 
in their childhood to follow his direction, and 
to refer their little differences to him ; and 
when they were men, who fitter to rule them? 
Their little properties, and less covetousness, 
seldom afforded greater controversies ; and 
when any should arise, where could they have 
a fitter umpire than he, by whose care they had 
every one been sustained and brought up, and 
who had a tenderness for them all? It is no 
wonder that they made no distinction betwixt 
minority and full age ; nor looked after one-and- 
twenty, or any other age that might make them 
the free disposers of themselves and fortunes, 
when thev could have no desire to be out of 


their pupilage : the government they had been 
under, during it, continued still to be more 
their protection than restraint; and they could 
no where find a greater security to their peace, 
liberties, and fortunes, than in the rule of a 

§. 76. Thus the natural fathers of families, 
by an insensible change, became the politic 
monarchs of them too : and as they chanced 
to live long, and leave able and worthy heirs, 
for several successions, or otherwise ; so they 
laid the foundations of hereditary, or elective 
kingdoms, under several constitutions and man- 
ners, according as chance, contrivance, or oc- 
casions happened to mould them. But if 
princes have their titles in their fathers right, 
and it be a sufficient proof of the natural right 
of fathers to political authority, because they 
commonly were those in whose hands we find, 
de facto, the exercise of government : I say, if 
this argument be good, it will as strongly prove, 
that all princes, nay princes only, ought to be 
priests, since it is as certain, that in the begin- 
ning, the father of the family was priest, as that 
he teas ruler in his own household. 


Of Political or Civil Society. 

§. 77. God having made man such a crea- 
ture, that in his own judgement, it was not 


good for him to be alone, put him under strong 
obligations of necessity, convenience, and incli- 
nation to drive him into society, as well as fitted 
him with understanding and language to con- 
tinue and enjoy it. The first society was 
between man and wife, which gave beginning 
to that between parents and children ; to which, 
in time, that between master and servant came 
to be added : and though all these might, and 
commonly did meet together, and make up but 
one family, wherein the master or mistress of 
it had some sort of rule proper to a family ; 
each of these, or all together, came short of 
political society, as we shall see, if we consider 
the different ends, ties, and bounds of each of 

§. 78. Conjugal society is made by a volun- 
tary compact between man and woman : and 
though it consist chiefly in such a communion 
and right in one another's bodies as is necessary 
to its chief end, procreation ; yet it draws with 
it mutual support and assistance, and a com- 
munion of interests too, as necessary not only 
to unite their care and affection, but also neces- 
sary to their common offspring, who have a 
right to be nourished, and maintained by them 
till they are able to provide for themselves. 

§. 79. For the end of conjunction between 
male and female, being not barely procreation, 
but the continuation of the species ; this con- 
junction betwixt male and female ought to last, 
even after procreation, so long as is necessary 


to the nourishment and support of the young 
ones, who are to be sustained by those that got 
them, till they are able to shift and provide for 
themselves. This rule, which the infinite wise 
maker hath set to the works of his hands, we 
find the inferior creatures steadily obey. In 
those viviparous animals which feed on grass, 
the conjunction betiveen male and female lasts no 
longer than the very act of copulation : because 
the teat of the dam being sufficient to nourish 
the young, till it be able to feed on grass, the 
male only begets, but concerns not himself for 
the female or young, to whose sustenance 
he can contribute nothing. But in beasts of 
prey the conjunction lasts longer : because the 
dam not being able well to subsist herself, and 
nourish her numerous off-spring by her own 
prey alone, a more laborious, as well as more 
dangerous way of living, than by feeding on 
grass, the assistance of the male is necessary 
to the maintenance of their common family, 
which cannot subsist till they are able to prey 
for themselves, but by the joint care of male 
and female. The same is to be observed in all 
birds, (except some domestic ones, where 
plenty of food excuses the cock from feeding, 
and taking care of the young brood) whose 
young needing food in the nest, the cock and 
hen continue mates, till the young are able to 
use their wing, and provide for themselves. 

§. 80. And herein I think lies the chief, if not 
the only reason, why the male and female in 


mankind are tied to a longer conjunction than 
other creatures, viz. because the female is capa- 
ble of conceiving, and de facto is commonly with 
child again, and brings forth to a new birth, 
long before the former is out of a dependency 
for support on his parents help, and able to shift 
for himself, and has all the assistance that is 
due to him from his parents : whereby the father, 
who is bound to take care for those he hath 
begot, is under an obligation to continue in 
conjugal society with the same woman longer 
than other creatures, whose young being able 
to subsist of themselves, before the time of 
procreation returns again, the conjugal bond 
dissolves of itself, and they are at liberty, till 
Hymen at his usual anniversary season sum- 
mons them again to choose new mates. Wherein 
one cannot but admire the wisdom of the great 
Creator, who having given to man foresight, 
and an ability to lay up for the future, as well 
as to supply the present necessity, hath made 
it necessary, that society of man and wife should 
be more lasting, than of male and female 
among other creatures ; that so their industry 
might be encouraged, and their interest better 
united, to make provision and lay up goods for 
their common issue, with uncertain mixture, or 
easy and frequent solutions of conjugal society 
would mightily disturb. 

§. 81. But though these are ties upon man- 
kind, which make the conjugal bonds more firm 
ami lasting in man, than the other species of 


animals ; yet it would give one reason to en- 
quire, why this compact, where procreation and 
education are secured, and inheritance taken 
care for, may not be made determinable, either 
by consent, or at a certain time, or upon cer- 
tain conditions, as well as any other voluntary 
compacts, there being no necessity in the na- 
ture of the thing, nor to the ends of it, that it 
should always be for life; I mean, to such as 
are under no restraint of any positive law, 
which ordains all such contracts to be perpe- 

§. 82. But the husband and wife, though 
they have but one common concern, yet having 
different understandings, will unavoidably 
sometimes have different wills too ; it therefore 
being necessary that the last determination, 
t. e. the rule, should be placed somewhere ; it 
naturally falls to the man's share, as the abler 
and the stronger. But this reaching but to the 
things of their common interest and property, 
leaves the wife in the full and free possession 
of what by contract is her peculiar right, and 
gives the husband no more power over her life 
than she has over his; the power of the husband 
being so far from that of an absolute monarch, 
that the wife has in many cases a liberty to 
separate from him, where natural right, or their 
contract allows it : whether that contract be 
made by themselves in the state of nature, or by 
the customs or laws of the country they live in; 
and the children upon such separation fall to 


the father or mother's lot, as such contract does 

§. 83. For all the ends of marriage being 
to be obtained under politic government, as 
well as in the state of nature, the civil magis- 
trate doth not abridge the right or power of 
either naturally necessary to those ends, viz. 
procreation and mutual support and assistance 
whilst they are together ; but only decides any 
controversy that may arise between man and 
wife about them. If it were otherwise, and 
that absolute sovereignty and power of life and 
death naturally belonged to the husband, and 
were necessary to the society between man and 
wife, there could be no matrimony in any of 
those countries where the husband is allowed 
no such absolute authority. But the ends of 
matrimony requiring no such power in the 
husband, the condition of conjugal society put 
it not in him, it being not at all necessary to 
that state. Conjugal society could subsist and 
attain its ends without it; nay, community 
of goods, and the power over them, mutual 
assistance and maintenance, and other things 
belonging to conjugal society, might be varied 
and regulated by that contract which unites 
man and wife in that society, as far as may 
consist with procreation and the bringing up of 
children till they could shift for themselves; 
nothing being necessary to any society, that is 
not necessary to the ends for which it is made. 

§. 84. The society betwixt parents and chil- 


dren, and the distinct rights and powers be- 
longing respectively to them, I have treated of 
so largely in the foregoing chapter, that I shall 
not here need to say any thing of it. And I 
think it is plain, that it is far different from a 
politic society. 

§. 85. Master and servant are names as old 
as history, but given to those of far different 
condition; for a freeman makes himself a 
servant to another, by selling him, for a certain 
time, the service he undertakes to do, in ex- 
change for wages he is to receive : and though 
this commonly puts him into the family of his 
master, and under the ordinary discipline 
thereof; yet it gives the master but a temporary 
power over him, and no greater than what is 
contained in the contract between them. But 
there is another sort of servants, which by a 
peculiar name we call slaves, who, being cap- 
tives taken in a just war, are by the right of 
nature subjected to the absolute dominion and 
arbitrary power of their masters. These men 
having, as I say, forfeited their lives, and with 
it their liberties, and lost their estates ; and 
being in the state of slavery, not capable of any 
property, cannot in that state be considered as 
any part of civil society ; the chief end whereof 
is the preservation of property. 

§. 86. Let us therefore consider a master of 
a family with all these subordinate relations of 
ivife, children, servants, and 'slaves, united under 
the domestic rule of a family; which, what re- 


semblance soever it may have in its order, 
offices, and number too, with a little common- 
wealth, yet is very far from it, both in its consti- 
tution, power and end : or if it must be thought 
a monarchy, and the paterfamilias the absolute 
monarch in it, absolute monarchy will have but 
a very shattered and short power, when it is 
plain, by what has been said before, that the 
master of the family has a very distinct and. 
differently limited power, both as to time and 
extent, over those several persons that are in it ; 
for excepting the slave (and the family is as 
much a family, and his power as paterfamilias 
as great, whether there be any slaves in his 
family or no) he has no legislative power of 
life and death over any of them, and none too 
but what & mistress of a family may have as well 
as he. And he certainly can have no absolute 
power over the whole family, who has but a 
very limited one over every individual in it. 
But how a family, or any other society of men, 
differ from that which is properly political 
society, we shall best see, by considering wherein 
political society itself consists. 

§. 87. Man being born, as has been proved, 
with a title to perfect freedom, and an uncon- 
trouled enjoyment of all the rights and privi- 
leges of the law of nature, equally with any 
other man, or number of men in the world, hath 
by nature a power, not only to preserve his 
property, that is, his life, liberty and estate, 
against the injuries and attempts of other men : 

s 2 


but to judge of, and punish the breaches of that 
law in others, as he is persuaded the offence 
deserves, even with death itself, in crimes 
where the heinousness of the fact, in his opinion, 
requires it. But because no political society 
can be, nor subsist, without having in itself the 
power to preserve the property, and in order 
thereunto, punish the offences of all those of 
that society : there, and there only is political 
society, where every one of the members hath 
quitted this natural power, resigned it up into 
the hands of the community in all cases that 
exclude him not from appealing for protection 
to the law established by it. And thus all 
private judgment of every particular member 
being excluded, the community comes to be 
umpire, by settled standing rules, indifferent, 
and the same to all parties ; and by men 
having authority from the community, for the 
execution of those rules, decides all the differ- 
ences that may happen between any members 
of that society concerning any matter of right ; 
and punishes those offences which any member 
hath committed against the society, with such 
penalties as the law hag established : whereby 
it is easy to discern, who are, and who are not, 
in political society together. Those who are 
united into one body, and have a common 
established law and judicature to appeal to, 
with authority to decide controversies between 
them, and punish offenders, are in civil society 
one with another : but those who have no such 


common people, I mean on earth, are still in the 
state of nature, each being, where there is no 
other, judge for himself, and executioner; 
which is, as I have before shewed it, the perfect 
stale of nature. 

§. 88. And thus the commonwealth comes by 
a power to set down what punishment shall 
belong to the several transgressions which they 
think worthy of it, committed amongst the 
members of that society, (which is the power 
of making laws) as well as it has the power to 
punish any injury done unto any of its mem- 
bers, by any one that is not of it, (which is the 
power of war and peace;) and all this for the 
preservation of the property of all the members 
of that society, as far as is possible. But 
though every man who has entered into civil 
society, and is become a member of any com- 
monwealth, has thereby quitted his power to 
punish offences, against the law of nature, in 
prosecution of his own private judgment, yet 
with the judgment of offences, which he has 
given up to the legislative in all cases, where 
he can appeal to the magistrate, he has given a 
right to the commonwealth to employ his 
force, for the execution of the judgments of the 
commonwealth, whenever he shall be called 
to it; w r hich indeed are his own judgments, 
they being made by himself, or his representa- 
tative. And herein we have the original of the 
legislative and executive power of civil society, 
which is to judge by standing laws, how far 


offences are to be punished, when committed 
within the commonwealth ; and also to deter- 
mine, by occasional judgments founded on the 
present circumstances of the fact, how far 
injuries from without are to be vindicated ; and 
in both these to employ all the force of all the 
members, when there shall be no need. 

§. 89. Wherever therefore any number of 
men are so united into one society, as to quit 
every one his executive power of the law of 
nature, and to resign it to the public, there and 
there only is a political, or civil society. And 
this is done, wherever any number of men, in 
the state of nature, enter into society to make 
one people, one body politic, under one su- 
preme government ; or else when any one joins 
himself to, and incorporates with any govern- 
ment already made: for hereby he authorizes 
the society, or which is all one, the legislative 
thereof, to make laws for him, as the public 
good of the society shall require : to the exe- 
cution whereof, his own assistance (as to his 
own decrees) is due. And this puts men out 
of a state of nature into that of a common- 
2vealth, by setting up a judge on earth, with 
authority to determine all the controversies, 
and redress the injuries that may happen to 
any member of the commonwealth ; which 
judge is the legislative, or magistrates appointed 
by it. And wherever there are any number of 
men, however associated, that have no such 
decisive power to appeal to, there they are still 
in the state of nature. 


§. DO. Hence it is evident, that absolute mo- 
narchy, which by some men is counted the only 
government in the world, is indeed inconsis- 
tent with civil society, and so can be no form of 
civil government at all : for the end of civil 
society, being to avoid, and remedy those incon- 
veniencies of the state of nature, which neces- 
sarily follow from every man's being judge in 
his own case, by setting up a known authority, 
to which every one of that society may appeal 
upon any injury received, or controversy that 
may arise, and which every one of the* society 
ought to obey ; wherever any persons are, 
who have not such an authority to appeal to, 
for the decision of any difference between them, 
there those persons are still in the stale of 
nature; and so is every absolute prince, in 
respect of those who are under his dominion. 

§. 91. For he being supposed to have all, 
both legislative and executive power in himself 
alone, there is no judge to be found, no appeal 
lies open to any one, who may fairly, and indif- 
ferently, and with authority decide, and from 
whose decision relief and redress may be ex- 
pected of any injury or inconveniency, that 

* The public power of all society is above every soul con- 
tained in the same society ; and the principal use of that 
power is, to give laws unto all that are under it, which laws 
in such cases we must obey, unless there be reason shewed 
which may necessarily inforce, that the law of reason, or 
of God, doth enjoin the contrary, Hookers. Eccl. Pol. I. i, 
sect. 10. 


may be suffered from the prince, or by his 
order: so that such a man, however intitled, 
Czar, Grand Seignor, or how you please, is as 
much in the state of nature, with all under his 
dominion, as he is with the rest of mankind : 
for wherever any two men are, who have no 
standing rule, and common judge to appeal to on 
earth, for the determination of controversies of 
right betwixt them, there they are still in the 
state of nature, * and under all the inconveni- 
encies of it, with only this woeful difference to 
the subject, or rather slave of an absolute 
prince : that whereas, in the ordinary state of 

* To take away all such mutual grievances, injuries and 
wrongs, i. e. such as attend men in the state of nature, there 
was no way hut only by growing into composition and agree- 
ment amongst themselves, by ordaining some kind of govern- 
ment public, and by yielding themselves subject thereunto, 
that unto whom they granted authority to rule and govern, 
by them the peace, tranquillity, and happy estate of the rest 
might be procured. Men always knew that where force and 
injury was offered, they might be defenders of themselves ; 
they knew that howevermen may seek theirown commodity, 
yet if this were done with injury unto others, it was not to 
be suffered, but by all men, and all good means to be with- 
stood. Finally, they knew that no man might in reason take 
upon him to determine his own right, and according to his 
own determination proceed in maintenance thereof, in as 
much as every man is towards himself, and them whom he 
greatly affects partial ; and therefore that strifes and trou- 
bles would be endless, except they gave their common con- 
sent, all to be ordered by some, whom they should agree 
upon, without which consent there would be no reason that 
one man should take upon him to be lord or judge over an 
other, Hooker's Eccl. Pol. I. i. sect. 10. 


nature, he has a liberty to judge of his right, 
and according to the best of his power, to main- 
tain it; now, whenever his property is invaded 
by the will and order of his monarch, he has 
not only to appeal, as those in society ought to 
have, but as if he were degraded from the com- 
mon state of rational creatures, is denied a 
liberty to judge of, or to defend his right; and 
so is exposed to all the misery and inconve- 
niencies, that a man can fear from one, who 
being in the unrestrained state of nature, is 
yet corrupted with flattery, and armed with 

§. 92. For he that thinks absolute power pu- 
rifies mens blood, and corrects the baseness of 
human nature, need read but the history of 
this, or any other age, to be convinced of the 
contrary. He that would have been insolent 
and injurious in the woods of America, would 
not probably be much better in a throne ; 
where perhaps learning and religion shall be 
found out to justify all that he shall do to his 
subjects, and the sword presently silence all 
those that dare question it: for what the pro- 
lection of absolute monarchy is, what kind of 
fathers of their countries it makes princes to 
be, and to what a degree of happiness and 
security it carries civil society, where this sort 
of government is grown to perfection, he, that 
will look into the late relation of Ceylon, may 
easily see. 

§. 93. In absolute monarchies indeed, as well 


as other governments of the world, the sub- 
jects have an appeal to the law, and judges 
to decide any controversies, and restrain any 
violence that may happen betwixt the subjects 
themselves, one amongst another. This every 
one thinks necessary, and believes he deserves 
to be thought a declared enemy to society and 
mankind, who should go about to take it 
away. But whether this be from a true love of 
mankind and society, and such a charity as we 
owe all one to another, there is reason to doubt : 
for this is no more than what every man, who 
loves his own power, profit, or greatness, may, 
and naturally must do, keep those animals from 
hurting, or destroying one another, who labour 
and drudge only for his pleasure and advan- 
tage ; and so are taken care of, not out of any 
love the master has for them, but love of him- 
self, and the profit they bring him : for if it be 
asked, what security, ivhat fence is there, in 
such a state, against the violence and oppression 
of this absolute ruler? the very question can 
scarce be borne. They are ready to tell you, 
that it deserves death only to ask after safety. 
Betwixt subject and subject, they will grant, 
there must be measures, laws and judges, for 
their mutual peace and security : but as for the 
ruler, he ought to be absolute, and is above all 
such circumstances ; because he has power to 
do more hurt and wrong, it is right when he 
does it. To ask how you may be guarded 
from harm, or injury, on that side where the 


strongest hand is to do it, is presently the 
voice of faction and rebellion : as if when men 
quitting the state of nature entered into society, 
they agreed that all of them but one should be 
under the restraint of laws, but that he should 
still retain all the liberty of the state of nature, 
increased with power, and made licentious by 
impunity. This is to think, that men are so 
foolish, that they take care to avoid what mis- 
chiefs may be done them by pole-cats, or foxes; 
but are content, nay, think it safety, to be 
devoured by lions. 

§. 94. But whatever flatterers may talk to 
amuse people's understandings, it hinders not 
men from feeling ; and when they perceive, 
that any man, in what station soever, is out of 
the bounds of the civil society which they are 
of, and that they have no appeal on earth 
against any harm, they may receive from him, 
they are apt to think themselves in the state of 
nature, in respect of him whom they find to 
be so ; and to take care, as soon as they can, 
to have that safety and security in civil society, 
for which it was first instituted, and for which 
only they entered into it. And therefore, 
though perhaps at first, (as shall be shewed 
more at large hereafter in the following part of 
this discourse,) some one good and excellent 
man having got a pre-eminency amongst the 
rest, had this deference paid to his goodness 
and virtue, as to a kind of natural authority, 
that the chief rule, with arbitration of their dif- 


ferences, by a tacit consent devolved into his, 
without any other caution, but the assurance 
they had of his uprightness and wisdom ; yet 
when time, giving authority, and (as some men 
would persuade us) sacredness of customs, 
which the negligent, and unforeseeing inno- 
cence of the first ages began, had brought in 
successors of another stamp, the people finding 
their properties not secure under the govern- 
ment, as it then was, (whereas government has 
no other end but the preservation of property*) 
could never be safe nor at rest, nor think them- 
selves in civil society, till the legislature was 
placed in collective bodies of men, call them 
senate, parliament, or what you please. By 
which means every single person became sub- 
ject, equally with other the meanest men, to 
those laws, which lie himself, as part of the 
legislative, had established ; nor could any one, 
by his own authority, avoid the force of the 
law, when once made ; nor by any pretence of 

* At the first, when some certain kind of regiment was 
once appointed, it may be that nothing was then farther 
thought upon for the manner of governing, but all permitted 
unto their wisdom and discretion, which were to rule, till by 
experience they found this for all parts very inconvenient, so 
as the thing which they had devised for a remedy did indeed 
but increase the sore, which it would have cured. They saw, 
that to lice by one mans will, became the cause of all mens 
misery. This constrained them to come unto laws, wherein 
all men might see their duty beforehand, and know the 
penalties of transgressing them. Hooker's Eccl. Pol. I. i. 
sect. 10. 



superiority plead exemption, thereby to license 
his own, or the miscarriages of any of his de- 
pendents. No man in civil society can be ex- 
empted from the laws of it:* for if any man 
may do what he thinks fit, and there be no 
appeal on earth, for redress or security against 
any harm he shall do ; I ask, whether he be 
not perfectly still in the state of nature, and so 
can be no part or member of that civil society ; 
unless any one will say, the state of nature and 
civil society are one and the same thing, which 
I have never yet found any one so great a 
patron of anarchy as to affirm. 


Of the Beginning oj Political Societies. 

§. 95. Men being, as has been said, by na- 
ture, all free, equal, and independent, no one 
can be put out of this estate, and subjected to 
the political power of another, without his own 
consent. The only way whereby any one di- 
vests himself of his natural liberty, and puts 
on the bonds of civil society, is by agreeing 
with other men to join and unite into a com- 
munity, for their comfortable, safe and peace- 
able living one amongst another, in a secure 
enjoyment of their properties, and a greater 

* Civil law being the act of the whole body politic, doth 
therefore over-rule each several part of the same body. 
Hooker s, Eccl. Pol. I. i. sect. 10. 


security against any, that are not of it. This? 
any number of men may do, because it injures 
not the freedom of the rest ; they are left as 
they were in the liberty of the state of nature. 
When any number of men have so consented to 
make one community or government, they are 
thereby presently incorporated, and make one 
body politic, wherein the majority have a right 
to act and conclude the rest. 

§. 96. For when any number of men have, 
by the consent of every individual, made a 
community, they have thereby made that com- 
munity one body, with a power to act as one 
body, which is only by the will and determi- 
nation of the majority: for that which acts 
any community, being only the consent of the 
individuals of it, and it being necessary to 
that which is one body to move one way ; it is 
necessary the body should move that way 
whither the greater force carries it, which is the 
consent of the majority : or else it is impossible 
it should act or continue one body, one com- 
munity, which the consent of every individual 
that united into it, agreed that it should ; and 
so every one is bound by that consent to be 
concluded by the majority. And therefore 
we see, that in assemblies, impowered to act 
by positive laws, where no number is set by 
that positive law which impowers them, the 
act of the majority passes for the act of the 
whole, and of course determines, as having 
by the law of nature and reason, the power of 
the whole. 


<§. 97. And thus every man, by consenting 
with others to make one body politic under 
one government, puts himself under an obli- 
gation to every one of that society, to submit 
to the determination of the majority, and to be 
concluded by it; or else this original compact, 
whereby he with others incorporates into one 
society, would signify nothing, and be no com- 
pact, if he be left free, and under no other ties 
than he was in before in the state of nature. 
For what appearance would there be of any 
compact? what new engagement if he were no 
farther tied by any decrees of the society, than 
he himself thought fit, and did actually con- 
sent to ? This would be still as great a liberty, 
as he himself had before his compact, or any 
one else in the state of nature hath, who may 
submit himself, and consent to any acts of it if 
he thinks fit. 

§. 98. For if the consent of the majority shall 
not, in reason, be received as the act of the 
whole, and conclude every individual ; nothing 
but the consent of every individual can make 
any thing to be the act of the whole : but such 
a consent is next to impossible ever to be had, 
if we consider the infirmities of health, and 
avocations of business, which in a number, 
though much less than that of a common- 
wealth, will necessarily keep many away from 
the public assembly. To which if we add the 
variety of opinions, and contrariety of interests, 
which unavoidably happen in all collections 


of men, the coming into society upon such terms 
would be only like Cato's coming into the thea- 
tre, only to go out again. Such a constitution as 
this would make the mighty Leviathan of a 
shorter duration, than the feeblest creatures, 
and not let it outlast the day it was born in: 
which cannot be supposed, till we can think, 
that rational creatures should desire and con- 
stitute societies only to be dissolved : for 
where the majority cannot conclude the rest, 
there they cannot act as one body, and conse- 
quently will be immediately dissolved again. 

§. 99. Whosoever therefore out of a state of 
nature unite into a community, must be under- 
stood to give up all the power, necessary to the 
ends for which they unite into society, to the 
majority of the community, unless they ex- 
pressly agreed in any number greater than the 
majority. And this is done by barely agreeing 
to unite into one political society, which is all 
the compact that is, or needs be, between the 
individuals, that enter into, or make up a 
commonwealth. And thus that, which begins 
and actually constitutes any political society, 
is nothing but the consent of any number of 
freemen capable of a majority to unite and in- 
corporate into such a society. And this is that, 
and that only, which did, or could give begin- 
ning to any lawful government in the world. 

§. 100. To this 1 find two objections made. 

First, That there are no instances to bej'ound 
in story, of a company oj y men independent, and 


equal one amongst another, that met together, 
and in this way began and set up a government. 

Secondly, It is impossible of right, that men 
should do so, because all men being bom under 
government, they are to submit to that, and are 
not at liberty to begin a new one. 

§. 101. To the first there is this to answer, 
That it is not at all to be wondered, that 
history gives us but a very little account of men, 
that lived together in the state of nature. The 
inconveniences of that condition, and the love 
and want of society, no sooner brought any 
number of them together, but they presently 
united and incorporated, if they designed to 
continue together. And if we may not suppose 
men ever to have been in the state of nature, 
because we hear not much of them in such a 
state, we may as well suppose the armies of 
Salmanasser or Xerxes were never children, be- 
cause we hear little of them, till they were men, 
and imbodied in armies. Government is every 
where antecedent to records, and letters seldom 
come in amongst a people till a long continua- 
tion of civil society has, by other more neces- 
sary arts, provided for their safety, ease, and 
plenty : and then they begin to look after the 
history of their founders, and search into their 
original, when they have outlived the memory 
of it: for it is with commoniucalths as with 
particular persons, they are commonly ignorant 
of their own births and infancies: and if they 
know any thing of their original, they are 



beholden for it, to the accidental records that 
others have kept of it. And those that we have, 
of the beginning of any polities in the world, 
excepting that of the Jews, where God him- 
self immediately interposed, and which favours 
not at all paternal dominion, are all either plain 
instances of such a beginning as I have men- 
tioned, or at least have manifest footsteps of it. 
"§. 102. He must shew a strange inclination 
to deny evident matter of fact, when it agrees 
not with his hypothesis, who will not allow, 
that the beginning of Rome and Venice were 
by the uniting together of several men free and 
independent one of another, amongst whom 
there was no natural superiority or subjection. 
And if Josephus Acosta's word may be taken, 
he tells us, that in many parts of America there 
was no government at all. There are great 
and apparent conjectures, says he, that these 
men, speaking of those of Peru, for a long time 
had neither kings nor commonwealths, but lived 
hi troops, as they do to this day in Florida, the 
Cheriquanas, those of Brazil, and many other 
nations, tvhich have no certain kings, but as occa- 
sion is offered, in peace or tear, they choose their 
captains as they please, l.i. c. 25. If it be said, 
that every man there was born subject to his 
father, or the head of his family; that the sub- 
jection due from a child to a father took not 
away his freedom of uniting into what political 
society he thought fit, has been already proved. 
But be that as it will, these men, it is evident, 


were actually free\ and whatever superiority 
some politicians now would place in any of 
them, they themselves claimed it not, but by 
consent were all equal, till by the same consent 
they set rulers over themselves. So that their 
politic societies all began from a voluntary union, 
and the mutual agreement of men freely acting 
in the choice of their governors, and forms of 

§. 103. And I hope those who went away 
from Sparta with Palantus, mentioned by 
Justin, 1. iii. c. 4. will be allowed to have been 
freemen independent one of another, and to have 
set up a government over themselves, by their 
own consent. Thus I have given several exam- 
ples out of history, of people free and in the state 
of nature, that being met together incorporated 
and began a commonwealth. And if the want 
of such instances be an argument to prove that 
government were not, nor could not be so begun, 
I suppose the contenders for paternal empire 
were better to let it alone, than urge it against 
natural liberty : for if they can give so many 
instances, out of history, of governments begun 
upon paternal right, I think (though at best an 
argument from what has been, to what should 
of right be, has no great force) one might, without 
any great danger, yield them the cause. But 
if I might advise them in the case, they would 
do well not to search too much into the original 
of governments, as they have begun de facto, 
lest they should find, at the foundation of most 

t 2 


of them, something very little favourable to the 
design they promote, and such a power as they 
contend for. 

§. 104. But to conclude, reason being plain 
on our side, that men are naturally free, and 
the examples of history shewing, that the 
governments of the world, that were begun in 
peace, had their beginning laid on that founda- 
tion, and were made by the consent of the peo- 
ple; there can be little room for doubt, either 
where the right is, or what has been the 
opinion, or practice of mankind, about ihefirst 
erecting- of governments. 

§. 105. I will not deny, that if we look back 
as far as history will direct us, towards the 
original of commoniuealths, we shall generally 
find them under the government and adminis- 
tration of one man. And I am also apt to 
believe, that where a family was numerous 
enough to subsist by itself, and continued 
entire together, without mixing with others, as 
it often happens, where there is much land, 
and few people, the government commonly be- 
gan in the father : for the father having, by the 
law of nature, the same power with every man 
else to punish, as he thought fit, any offences 
against that law, might thereby punish his 
transgressing children, even when they were 
men, and out of their pupilage ; and they were 
very likely to submit to his punishment, and 
all join with him against the offender, in their 
turns, giving him thereby power to execute his 


sentence against any transgression, and so in 
effect make him the law-maker, and governor 
over all that remained in conjunction with his 
family. He was fittest to be trusted ; paternal 
affection secured their property and interest 
under his care ; and the custom of obeying 
him, in their childhood, made it easier to 
submit to him, rather than to any other. If 
therefore they must have one to rule them, as 
government is hardly to be avoided amongst 
men that live together; who so likely to be 
the man as he that was their common father; 
unless negligence, cruelty, or any other defect 
of mind or body made him unfit for it? But 
when either the father died, and left his next 
heir, for want of age, wisdom, courage, or any 
other qualities, less fit to rule ; or where seve- 
ral families met, and consented to continue 
together; there, it is not to be doubted, but 
they used their natural freedom, to set up him, 
whom they judged the ablest, and most likely, 
to rule well over them. Conformable here- 
unto we find the people of America, who (living- 
out of the reach of the conquering swords, and 
spreading domination of the two great empires 
of Peru and Mexico) enjoyed their own na- 
tural freedom, though, ccctcris paribus, they 
eommonly prefer the heir of their deceased 
king; yet if they find him any way weak, or 
uncapable, they pass him by, and set up the 
stoutest and bravest man for their ruler 

106. Tims, though looking back as far as 


records give us any account of peopling the 
world, and the history of nations, we common- 
ly find the government to be in one hand ; yet 
it destroys not that which I affirm, viz, that 
the beginning of politic society depends upon 
the consent of the individuals, to join into, and 
make one society; who, when they are thus 
incorporated, might set up what form of go- 
vernment they thought fit. But this having 
given occasion to men to mistake, and think, 
that by nature government was monarchical, 
and belonged to the father, it may not be amis 
here to consider, why people in the beginning 
generally pitched upon this form, which though 
perhaps the father's pre-eminency might, in the 
first institution of some commonwealths, give 
a rise to, and place in the beginning, the power 
in one hand ; yet it is plain that the reason, 
that continued the form of government in a 
single person, was not any regard, or respect 
to paternal authority ; since all petty monar- 
chies, that is, almost all monarchies, near their 
original, have been commonly, at least upon 
occasion, elective. 

§. 107. First then, in the beginning of things, 
the father's government of the childhood of 
those sprung from him, having accustomed 
them to the rule of one man, and taught them 
that where it was exercised with care and 
skill, with affection and love to those under it, 
it was sufficient to procure and preserve to 
men all the political happiness they sought for 


in society. It was no wonder that they should 
pitch upon, and naturally run into that form 
of government, which from their infancy they 
had been all accustomed to ; and which, by 
experience, they had found both easy and 
safe. To which, if we add, that monarchy 
being simple, and most obvious to men, whom 
neither experience had instructed in forms of 
government, nor the ambition or insolence of 
empire had taught to beware of the encroach- 
ments of prerogative, or the inconveniencies of 
absolute power, which monarchy in succession 
was apt to lay claim to, and bring upon them ; 
it was not at all strange, that they should not 
much trouble themselves to think of methods 
of restraining any exorbitances of those to 
whom they had given the authority over them, 
and of balancing the power of government, by 
placing several parts of it in different hands. 
They had neither felt the oppression of tyranni- 
cal dominion, nor did the fashion of the age, 
nor their possessions, or way of living, (which 
afforded little matter for covetousness or am- 
bition) give them any reason to apprehend or 
provide against it ; and therefore it is no 
wonder they put themselves into such a frame 
of government, as was not only, as 1 said, 
most obvious and simple, but also best suited 
to their present state and condition; which 
stood more in need of defence against foreign 
invasions and injuries, than of multiplicity of 
laws. The equality of a simple poor way of 


living, confining their desires within the narrow 
bounds of each man's small property, made 
few controversies, and so no need of many 
laws to decide them, or variety of officers to 
superintend the process, or look after the 
execution of justice, where there were but few 
trespasses, and few offenders. Since then 
those, who liked one another so well as to join 
into society, cannot but be supposed to have 
some acquaintance and friendship together, 
and some trust one in another ; they could not 
but have greater apprehensions of others, than 
of one another : and therefore their first care 
and thought cannot but be supposed to be, how 
to secure themselves against foreign force. It 
was natural for them to put themselves under 
a frame of government which might best serve 
to that end, and chuse the wisest and bravest 
man to conduct them in their wars, and lead 
them out against their enemies, and in this 
chiefly be their ruler. 

\. 108. Thus we see, that the kings of the 
Indians in America, which is still a pattern of 
the first ages in Asia and Europe, whilst the 
inhabitants were too few for the country, and 
want of people and money gave men no 
temptation to enlarge their possessions of land, 
or contest for wider extent of ground, are little 
more than generals of their armies; and though 
they command absolutely in war, yet at home 
and in time of peace they exercise very little 
dominion, and have but a verv moderate 


sovereignty, the resolutions of peace and war 
being ordinarily either in the people, or in a 
council. Though the war itself, which admits 
not of plurality of governors, naturally devolves 
the command into the king's sole authority. 

\. 109. And thus in Israel itself, the chief 
business of their judges, and first kings, seems 
to have been to be captains in war, and leaders 
of their armies ; which (besides what is signi- 
fied by going out and in before the people, 
which was to march forth to war, and home 
again in the heads of their forces) appears 
plainly in the story of Jephlha. The Ammo- 
nites making war upon Israel, the Gileadites 
in fear send to Jephtha, a bastard of their 
family whom they had cast off, and article 
with him, if he will assist them against the 
Ammonites, to make him their ruler; which 
they do in these words, And the people made 
him head and captain over them, Judges xi. 11. 
which was, as it seems, all one as to be judge* 
And he judged Israel, Judges xii. 7. that is, 
was their captain-general six years. So when 
Jotham upbraids the Shechemites with the 
obligation they had to Gideon, who had been 
their judge and ruler, he tells them, He fought 
for you, and adventured his life jar, and de- 
livered you out of the hands of Midian, J"g. ix. 
J 7. Nothing mentioned of him, but what he 
did as a general: and indeed that is all is 
found in his history, or in any of the rest of 
the judges. And Abimclech particularly is 


called king, thought at most he was but their 
general. And when, being weary of the ill 
conduct of Samuels sons, the children of 
Israel desired a king, like all the nations to 
judge them, and to go out before them, and to 
fight their battles, 1 Sam. viii. 20. God grant- 
ing their desire, says to Samuel, 1 ivill send 
thee a man, and thou shall anoint him to be 
captain over my people Israel, that he may save 
my people out of the hands of the Philistines, 
ix. 16. As if the only business of a king had 
been to lead out their armies, and light in their 
defence; and accordingly at his inauguration 
pouring a vial of oil upon him, declares to 
Saul, that the Lord had anointed him to be 
captain over his inheritance, x. 1 . And there- 
fore those, who after Saul's being solemnly 
chosen and saluted king by the tribes at Mis- 
pah, were unwilling to have him their king, 
made no other objection but this, How shall 
this man save us? v. 27. as if they should have 
said, this man is unfit to be our king, not 
having skill and conduct enough in war, to be 
able to defend us. And when God resolved 
to transfer the government to David, it is in 
these words, Hut note thy kingdom shall not 
continue: the Lord hath sought him a man 
after his own heart, and the Lord hath com- 
manded him to be captain over his people, xiii. 
14. As if the whole kingly authority were no- 
thing else but to be their general : and there- 
fore the tribes who had stuck to Saul's family, 


and opposed David's reign, when they came 
to Hebron with terms of submission to him, 
they tell him, amongst other arguments they 
had to submit to him as to their king, that 
he was in effect their king in Sauls time, and 
therefore they had no reason but to receive 
him as their king now. Also (say they) in 
time past y tvhen Saul ivas king over us, thou 
ivast he that leddest out and broughtest in 
Israel, and the Lord said unto thee, Thou shall 
feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be a 
captain over Israel. 

§. 110. Thus, whether a family by degrees 
greiv up into a commonwealth, and the fatherly 
authority being continued on to the elder son, 
every one in his turn growing up under it, tacitly 
submitted to it, and the easiness and equality 
of it not offending any one, every one acquiesced, 
till time seemed to have confirmed it, and 
settled a right of succession by prescription : or 
whether several families, or the descendents of 
several families, whom chance, neighbourhood, 
or business brought together, uniting into so- 
ciety, the need of a general, whose conduct 
might defend them against their enemies in 
war, and the great confidence the innocence 
and sincerity of that poor but virtuous age, (such 
as are almost all those which begin govern- 
ments, that ever come to last in the world) gave 
men one of another, made the first beginners of 
of commonwealths generally put the rule into 
one man's hand, without any other express 


limitation or restraint, but what the nature of 
the thing, and the end of government required : 
which ever of those it was that at first put the 
rule into the hands of a single person, certain 
it is no body was intrusted with it but for the 
public good and safety, and to those ends, in 
the infancies of commonwealths, those who had 
it commonly used it. And unless they had 
done so, young societies could not have sub- 
sisted ; without such nursing fathers tender and 
careful of the public weal, all governments 
would have sunk under the weakness and infir- 
mities of their infancy, and the prince and the 
people had soon perished together. 

§. 111. But though the golden age (before 
vain ambition, and amor sceleralus kabendi, evil 
concupiscence, had corrupted men's minds into 
a mistake of true power and honour) had more 
virtue, and consequently better governors, as 
well as less vicious subjects ; and there was 
then no stretching prerogative on the one side, 
to oppress the people ; nor consequently on 
the other, any dispute about privilege, to lessen 
or restrain the power of the magistrate, and so 
no contest betwixt rulers and people about 
governors or government: yet, when ambition 
and luxury in future ages* would retain and 

• At first, when some certain kind of regiment was once 
approved, it may be nothing was then farther thought upon 
for the manner of governing, but all permitted unto their 
•wisdom and discretion which were to rule, till by experience 
they found this for all parts very inconvenient, so as the 


increase the power, without doing the business 
for which it was given; and aided by flattery, 
taught princes to have distinct and separate 
interests from their people, men found it neces- 
sary to examine more carefully the original and 
rights of government; and to find out ways to 
restrain the exorbitances, and prevent the abuses 
of that power, which they having intrusted in 
another's hands only for their own good, they 
found was made use of to hurt them. 

§. 112. Thus we may see how probable it is, 
that people that were naturally free, and by 
their own consent either submitted to the 
government of their father, or united together 
out of different families to make a government, 
should generally put the rule into one mans 
hands, and chuse to be under the conduct of a 
single person, without so much as by express 
conditions limiting or regelating his power, 
which they thought safe enough in his honesty 
and prudence ; though they never dreamed of 
monarchy being Jure Divino, which we never 
heard of among mankind, till it was revealed to 
us by the divinity of this last age ; nor ever 
allowed paternal power to have a right to do- 
minion, or to be the foundation of all govern- 

thing which they had devised for a remedy, did indeed hut 
increase the sore which it should have cured. They saw, 
that to live by one man's will, became the cause of all men's 
misery. This constrained them to come unto laws wherein 
all men might see their duty beforehand, and know the penal- 
ties of transsressino; them. Hooker's Eccl. Pol. I. i. sect. 10. 


ment. And thus much may suffice to shew, 
that as far as we have any light from history, 
we have reason to conclude, that all peaceful 
beginnings of government have been laid in the 
consent of the 'people. I say peaceful, because 
I shall have occasion in another place to speak 
of conquest, which some esteem a way of 
beginning of governments. 

The other objection I find urged against the 
beginning of polities in the way 1 have men- 
tioned, is this, viz. 

§. 113. That all men being born under govern- 
ment, some or other, it is impossible any of them 
should ever be free, and at liberty to unite 
together, and begin a new one, or ever be able to 
erect a lauf id government. 

If this argument be good; I ask, how came 
so many lawful monarchies into the world? for 
if any body, upon this supposition, can shew 
me any one man in any age of the world free 
to begin a lawful monarchy, I will be bound to 
shew him ten other free men at liberty, at the 
same time to unite and begin a new government 
under a regal, or any other form ; it being 
demonstration, that if any one, born under the 
dominion of another, may be no free as to have 
a right to command others in a new and distinct 
empire, every one that is born under the dominion 
of another may be so free too, and may become 
a ruler, or subject, of a distinct separate govern- 
ment. And so by this their own principle, 
either all men, however born, are free, or else 


there is but one lawful prince, one lawful govern- 
ment in the world. And then they have nothing 
to do, but barely to shew us which that is ; which 
when they have done, I doubt not but all man- 
kind will easily agree to pay obedience to him. 

§. 114. Though it be a sufficient answer to 
their objection, to shew that it involves them 
in the same difficulties that it doth those they 
use it against; yet I shall endeavour to discover 
the weakness of this argument a little farther. 

All men, say they, are born under government, 
and therefore they cannot be at liberty to begin a 
neiv one. Every one is bom a subject to his 
father or his prince, and is therefore under the 
perpetual tie of subjection and allegiance. It is 
plain mankind never owned nor considered 
any such natural subjection that they were born 
in, to one or to the other that tied them, with- 
out their own consents, to a subjection to them 
and their heirs. 

§. 115. For there are no examples so fre- 
quent in history, both sacred and profane, as 
those of men withdrawing themselves, and their 
obedience from the jurisdiction they were born 
under, and the family or community they were 
bred up in, and setting up new governments in 
other places ; from whence sprang all that 
number of petty commonwealths in the begin- 
ning of ages, and which always multiplied, as 
long as there was room enough, till tiie stronger, 
or more fortunate, swallowed the weaker; and 
those great ones again breaking to pieces, 


dissolved into lesser dominions. All which 
are so many testimonies against paternal 
sovereignty, and plainly prove, that it was not 
the natural right of the father descending to 
his heirs, that made governments in the begin- 
ning, since it was impossible, upon that ground, 
there should have been so many little king- 
doms ; all must have been but only one universal 
monarchy, if men had not been at liberty to 
separate themselves from their families, and 
the government, be it what it will, that was 
set up in it, and go and make distinct common- 
wealths and other governments as they thought 

§. 116. This has been the practice of the 
world from its first beginning to this day ; nor 
is it now any more hindrance to the freedom 
of mankind, that they are bom under constituted 
and ancient polities, that have established laws, 
and set forms of government, than if they were 
born in the woods, amongst the unconfined 
inhabitants, that run loose in them: for those, 
who would persuade us, that by being bom 
under any government, ive are naturally subjects 
to it, and have no more any title or pretence to 
the freedom of the state of nature, have no other 
reason (bating that of paternal power, which 
we have already answered) to produce for it, 
but only, because our fathers or progenitors 
passed away their natural liberty, and thereby 
bound up themselves and their posterity to a 
perpetual subjection to the government, which 


they themselves submitted to. It is true, that 
whatever engagements or promises any one has 
made for himself, he is under the obligation of 
them, but cannot, by any compact whatsoever, 
bind his children or posterity : for his son, when 
a man, being altogether as free as the father, 
any act of the father can no more give away the 
liberty of the son, than it can of any body else : 
he may indeed annex such conditions to the 
land, he enjoyed as a subject of any common- 
wealth, as may oblige his son to be of that 
community, if he will enjoy those possessions 
which were his fathers ; because that estate 
being his father's property, he may dispose, or 
settle it, as he pleases. 

§. 117. And this has generally given the oc- 
casion to mistake in this matter ; because com- 
monwealths not permitting any part of their 
dominions to be dismembered, nor to be 
enjoyed by any but those of their community, 
the son cannot ordinarily enjoy the possessions 
of his father, but under the same terms his 
father did, by becoming a member of the 
society; whereby he puts himself presently 
under the government he finds there established, 
as much as any other subject of that common- 
wealth. And thus the consent of free men 
bom under government, which only makes them 
members of it, being given separately in their 
turns, as each comes to be of age, and not in 
a multitude together; people take no notice 
of it, and thinking it not done at all, or not 



necessary, conclude they are naturally subjects 
as they are men. 

§. 118. But, it is plain governments them- 
selves understand it otherwise ; they claim no 
power over the son, because of that they had 
over the father; nor look on children as being 
their subjects, by their fathers being* so. If a 
subject of England have a child, by an En- 
glish woman in France, whose subject is he? 
Not the king of England" s ; for he must have 
leave to be admitted to the privileges of it : 
nor the king of France's; for how then has his 
father a liberty to bring him away, and breed 
him as he pleases? and whoever was judged 
as a traytor or deserter, if he left, or warred 
against a country, for being barely born in it 
of parents that were aliens there ? It is plain 
then, by the practice of governments them- 
selves, as well as by the law of right reason, 
that a child is born a subject of no country or 
government. He is under his father's tuition 
and authority, till he comes to age of discre- 
tion ; and then he is a freeman, at liberty what 
government he will put himself under, what 
body politic he will unite himself to : for if an 
Englishman s son, born in France, be at liberty, 
and may do so, it is evident there is no tie 
upon him by his father's being a subject of 
this kingdom; nor is he bound up by any 
compact of his ancestors. And why then hath 
not his son, by the same reason, the same 
liberty, though he be born any where else? 


Since -the power that a father hath naturally 
over his children, is the same, wherever they 
be born, and the ties of natural obligations are 
not bounded by the positive limits of kingdoms 
and commonwealths. 

§. 119. Every man being, as has been shewed, 
naturally free, and nothing being able to put 
him into subjection to any earthly power, but 
only his own consent; it is to be considered, 
what shall be understood to be a sufficient 
declaration of a man's consent, to make him 
subject to the laws of any government. There 
is a common distinction of an express and 
tacit consent, which will concern our present 
case. Nobody doubts but an express consent, 
of any man entering into any society, makes 
him a perfect member of that society, a sub- 
ject of that government. The difficulty is, 
what ought to be looked upon as a tacit con- 
sent, and how far it binds, i. e. how far any 
one shall be looked on to have consented, and 
thereby submitted to any government, where 
he has made no expressions of it at all. And 
to this I say, that every man, that hath any 
possessions, or enjoyment, of any part of the 
dominions of any government, doth thereby 
give his tacit consent, and is as far forth obliged 
to obedience to the laws of that government, 
during such enjoyment, as any one under it; 
whether this his possession be of land, to him 
and his heirs for ever, or a lodging only for a 
week ; or whether it be barely travelling freely 

u 2 


on the highway ; and in effect, it reaches as fai 
as the very being of any one within the territo- 
ries of that government. 

§. 120. To understand this the better, it is 
fit to consider, that every man, when he at 
first incorporates himself into any common- 
wealth, he, by his uniting himself thereunto, 
annexes also, and submits to the community, 
those posssessions, which he has, or shall 
acquire, that do not already belong to any 
other government: for it would be a direct 
contradiction, for any one to enter into society 
with others for the securing and regulating of 
property ; and yet to suppose his land, whose 
property is to be regulated by the laws of the 
society, should be exempt from the jurisdiction 
of that government, to which he himself, the 
proprietor of the land, is a subject. By the 
same act therefore, whereby any one unites his 
person, which was before free, to any common- 
wealth ; by the same he unites his possessions, 
which were before free, to it also ; and they 
become, both of them, person and possession, 
subject to the government and dominion of 
that commonwealth, as long as it hath a being. 
Whoever therefore, from thenceforth, by inhe- 
ritance, purchase, permission, or otherways, 
enjoys any part of the land, so annexed to, and 
under the government of that commonwealth, 
must take it with the condition it is under; that 
is, of submitting to the government of the com- 


■momvealth, under whose jurisdiction it is, as 
far forth as any subject of it. 

§. 121. But since the government has a di- 
rect jurisdiction only over the land, and reaches 
the possessor of it, (before he has actually in- 
corporated himself in the society) only as he 
dwells upon, and enjoys that; the obligation 
any one is under, by virtue of such enjoyment, 
to submit to the government , begins and ends 
with the enjoyment; so that whenever the 
owner, who has given nothing but such a tacit 
consent to the government, will, by donation, 
sale, or otherwise, quit the said possession, he 
is at liberty to go and incorporate himself into 
any other commonwealth; or to agree with 
others to begin a new one, in vacuis locis, in 
any part of the world, they can find free and 
unpossessed : whereas, he that has once, by 
actual agreement, and any express declaration, 
given his consent to be of any commonwealth, 
is perpetually and indispensibly obliged to be, 
and remain unalterably a subject to it, and can 
never be again in the liberty of the state of 
nature ; unless, by any calamity, the govern- 
ment he was under comes to be dissolved ; or 
else by some public act cuts him off from being 
any longer a member of it. 

§. 122. But submitting to the laws of any 
country, living quietly, and enjoying privileges 
and protection under them, makes not a man 
member of that society: this is only a local 
protection and homage due to and from all 


those, who, not being in a state of war, come 
within the territories belonging' to any govern- 
ment, to all parts whereof the force of its laws 
extends. But this no more makes a man a 
member of that society, a perpetual subject of 
that commonwealth, than it would make a man 
a subject to another, in whose family he found 
it convenient to abide for some time ; though, 
whilst he continued in it, he were obliged to 
comply with the laws, and submit to the go- 
vernment he found there. And thus we see, 
that foreigners, by living all their lives under 
another government, and enjoying the privi- 
leges and protection of it, though they are 
bound, even in conscience, to submit to its 
administration, as far forth as any denison ; 
yet do not thereby come to be subjects or mem- 
bers of that commonwealth. Nothing can 
make any man so, but his actually entering 
into it by positive engagement, and express 
promise and compact. This is that which I 
think concerning the beginning of political 
societies, and that consent which makes any one 
a member of any commonwealth. 


Of the Ends of Political Society and 

%. 123. If man in the state of nature be so 
free, as has been said ; if he be absolute lord 


of his own person and possessions, equal to 
the greatest, and subject to no body, why will 
he part with his freedom ? why will he give up 
this empire, and subject himself to the domi- 
nion and controul of any other power? To 
which it is obvious to answer, that though in 
the state of nature he hath such a right, yet 
the enjoyment of it is very uncertain, and con- 
stantly exposed to the invasion of others : for 
all being kings as much as he, every man his 
equal, and the greater part no strict observers 
of equity and justice, the enjoyment of the 
property he has in this state is very unsafe, 
very unsecure. This makes him willing to 
quit a condition, which, however free, is full 
of fears and continual dangers : and it is not 
without reason, that he seeks out, and is 
willing to join in society with others, who are 
already united, to have a mind to unite, for 
the mutual preservation of their lives, liberties 
and estates, which I call by the general name, 

%. 124. The great and chief end, therefore, 
of men's uniting into commonwealths, and 
putting themselves under government, is the 
preservation of their properly. To which in 
the state of nature there are many things 

First, There wants an established, settled, 
known law, received and allowed by common 
consent to be the standard of right and wrong, 
and the common measure to decide all con- 


troversies between them : for though the law of 
nature be plain and intelligible to all rational 
creatures ; yet men being biassed by their in- 
terest, as well as ignorant for want of study of 
it, are not apt to allow of it as a law binding 
to them in the application of it to their parti- 
cular cases. 

§. 125. Secondly, In the state of nature 
there wants a known unci indifferent judge, with 
authority to determine all differences according 
to the established law : for every one in that 
state being both judge and executioner of the 
law of nature, men being partial to themselves, 
passion and revenge is very apt to carry them 
too far, and with too much heat, in their own 
cases ; as well as negligence, and uncon- 
cernedness, to make them to remiss in other 

§. 126. Thirdly, In the state of nature there 
often wants poiuer to back and support the sen- 
tence when right, and to give it due execution. 
They who by any injustice offended, will 
seldom fail, where they are able, by force to 
make good their injustice ; such resistance 
many times makes the punishment dangerous, 
and frequently destructive, to those who 
attempt it. 

<§. 127. Thus mankind, notwithstanding all 
the privileges of the state of nature, being but 
in an ill condition, while they remain in it, are 
quickly driven into society. Hence it comes 
to pass, that we seldom find any number of 


men live any time together in this state. The 
inconveniencies that they are therein exposed 
to by the irregular and uncertain exercise of 
the power every man has of punishing the trans- 
gressions of others, make them take sanctuary 
under the established laws of government, and 
therein seek the preservation of their property. 
It is this makes them so willingly give up every 
one his single power of punishing, to be exer- 
cised by such alone, as shall be appointed to it 
amongst them ; and by such rules as the com- 
munity, or those authorized by them to that 
purpose, shall agree on. And in this we have 
the original right and rise of both the legislative 
and executive poiver, as well as of the govern- 
ments and societies themselves. 

§. 128. For in the state of nature, to omit 
the liberty he has of innocent delights, a man 
has two powers. 

The first is to do whatsoever he thinks fit for 
the preservation of himself, and others within 
the permission of the law of nature: by which 
law, common to them all, he and all the rest of 
mankind are one community, make up one 
society, distinct from all other creatures. And 
were it not for the corruption and vitiousness 
of degenerate men, there would be no need of 
any other ; no necessity that men should sepa- 
rate from this great and natural community, 
and by positive agreements combine into 
smaller and divided associations. 

The other power a man has in the state of 


nature, is the power to punish the crimes com- 
mitted against that law. Both these he gives 
up, when he joins in a private, if I may so call it, 
or particular politic society, and incorporates 
into any commonwealth, separate from the rest 
of mankind. 

§. 129. The first power, viz. of doing whatso- 
ever he thought for the preservation of himself, 
and the rest of mankind, he gives up to be regu- 
lated by laws made by the society, so far forth 
as the preservation of himself, and the rest of 
that society shall require ; which laws of the 
society in many things confine the liberty he 
had by the law of nature. 

§. 130. Secondly, The power of punishing he 
wholly gives up, and engages his natural force, 
(which he might before employ in the execution 
of the law of nature, by his own single authority, 
as he thought fit) to assist the executive power of 
the society, as the law thereof shall require : for 
being now in a new state, wherein he is to enjoy 
many conveniencies from the labour, assistance, 
and society of others in the same community, 
as well as protection from its whole strength ; 
he is to part also with as much of his natural 
liberty, in providing for himself, as the good 
prosperity, and safety of the society shall re- 
quire ; which is not only necessary, but just, 
since the other members of the society do the 

§. 131. But though men, when they enter 
into society, give up the equality, liberty, and 


executive power they had in the state of nature, 
into the hands of the society, to be so far 
disposed of by the legislative, as the good of 
the society shall require ; yet it being only with 
an intention in every one the better to preserve 
himself, his liberty and property ; (for no 
rational creature can be supposed to change his 
condition with an intention to be worse) the 
power of the society, or legislative constituted 
by them, can never be supposed to extend far I her 
than the common good ; but is obliged to secure 
every one's property, by providing against those 
three defects above mentioned, that made the 
state of nature so unsafe and uneasy. And so 
whoever has the legislative or supreme power 
of any commonwealth, is bound to govern by 
established standing laivs, promulgated and 
known to the people, and not by extemporary 
decrees ; by indifferent and upright judges, 
who are to decide controversies by those laws; 
and to employ the force of the community at 
home, only in the execution of such laws, or 
abroad to prevent or redress foreign injuries, 
and secure the community from inroads and 
invasion. And all this to be directed to no 
other end, but the peace, safety, and public good 
of the people. 



Of the Forms of a Commonwealth. 

%. 132. The majority having, as has been 
shewed, upon men's first uniting into society, 
the whole power of the community naturally in 
them, may employ all that power in making 
laws for the community from time to time, and 
executing those laws by officers of their own 
appointing : and then the form of the govern- 
ment is a perfect democracy : or else may put 
the power of making laws into the hands of a 
few select men, and their heirs or successors; 
and then it is an oligarchy : or else into the 
hands of one man, and then it is a monarchy : 
if to him and his heirs, it is an hereditary 
monarchy: if to him only for life, but upon his 
death the power only of nominating a successor 
to return to them an elective monarchy. And 
so accordingly of these the community may 
make compounded and mixed forms of govern- 
ment, as they think good. And if the legisla- 
tive power be at first given by the majority to 
one or more persons only for their lives, or any 
limited time, and then the supreme power to 
revert to them again; when it is so reverted, 
the community may dispose of it again anew 
into what hands they please, and so constitute 
a new form of government : for the form of 
goverment depending upon the placing the su- 


preme power, which is the legislative, it being 
impossible to conceive that an inferior power 
should prescribe to a superior, or any but the 
supreme make laws, according 1 as the power 
of making laws is placed, such is the form of 
the commonwealth. 

§. 133. By commonwealth, I must be under- 
stood all along to mean, not a democracy, or 
any form of government, but any independent 
community, which the Latins signified by the 
word civitas, to which the word which best 
answers in our language, is commonwealth, and 
most properly expresses such a society of men, 
which community or city in English does not; 
for there may be subordinate communities in a 
government ; and city amongst us has a quite 
different notion from commonwealth : and 
therefore to avoid ambiguity, I crave leave to 
use the word commonwealth in that sense, in 
which I find it used by king James the first ; 
and I take it to be its genuine signification; 
which if any body dislike, I consent with him 
to change it for a better. 


Of the Extent of the Legislative Power. 

§. 134. The great end of men's entering into 
society, being the enjoyment of their properties 
in peace and safety, and the great instrument 
and means of that being the laws established in 


that society; the first and fundamental positive 
law of all commonwealths is the establishing of 
the legislative power : as the first and funda- 
mental natural law, which is to govern even the 
legislative itself, is the preservation of the society ; 
and (as far as will consist with the public 
good) of every person in it. This legislative is 
not only the supreme power of the common- 
wealth, but sacred and unalterable in the hands 
where the community have once placed it : nor 
can any edict of any body else, in what form 
soever conceived, or by what power soever 
backed, have the force and obligation of a law, 
which has not its sanction from that legislative 
which the public has chosen and appointed : 
for without this the law could not have that, 
which is absolutely necessary to its being a 
law, * the consent of the society, over whom no 
body can have a power to make laws, but by 
their own consent, and by authority received 

* The lawful power of making laws to command whole 
politic societies of men, belonging so properly unto the 
same intire societies, that for any prince or potentate of what 
kind soever upon earth, to exercise the same of himself, and 
not by express commission immediately and personnally re- 
ceived from God, or else by authority derived at the first 
from their consent, upon whose persons they impose laws, 
it is no better than mere tyranny. Laws they are not there- 
fore which public approbation hath not made so. Hooker's 
Eccl. Pol. I. i. sect. 10. Of this point therefore we are to 
note, that sith men naturally have no full and perfect power 
to command whole politic multitudes of men, therefore utter- 
ly without our consent, we could in such sort be at no man's 


from them ; and therefore all the obedience, 
which by the most solemn ties any one can be 
obliged to pay, ultimately terminates in this 
supreme power, and is directed by those laws 
which it enacts : nor can any oaths to any foreign 
power whatsoever, or any domestic subordinate 
power, discharge any member of the society 
from his obedience to the legislative, acting pur- 
suant to their trust : nor oblige him to any 
obedience contrary to the laws so enacted, or 
farther than they do allow ; it being ridiculous 
to imagine one can be tied ultimately to obey 
any power in the society, which is not the 

\. 135. Though the legislative, whether placed 
in one or more, whether it be always in being, or 
or only by intervals, though it be the supreme 
power in every commonwealth ; yet, 

First, It is not, nor can possibly be abso- 
lutely arbitrary over the lives and fortunes of 
the people: for it being but the joint power of 
every member of the society given up to that 
person or assembly, which is legislator ; it can 
be no more than those persons had in a state 
of nature before they entered into society, and 
gave up to the community : for no body can 
transfer to another more power than he has in 

command ment living. And to be commanded we do consent, 
when that society, whereof we be a part, hath at any time 
before consented, without revoking the same after by the like 
universal agreement. 

Laws therefore human, of what kind so ever, are available 
bv consent. Ibid. 


himself; and no body has an absolute arbitrary 
power over himself, or over any other, to de- 
stroy his own life, or take away the life or pro- 
perty of another. A man, as has been proved, 
cannot subject himself to the arbitrary power 
of another ; and having in the state of nature 
no arbitrary power over the life, liberty, or 
possession of another, but only so much as the 
law of nature gave him for the preservation of 
himself, and the rest of mankind ; this is all he 
doth, or can give up to the commonwealth, and 
by it to the legislative power, so that the legis- 
lative can have no more than this. Their 
power, in the utmost bounds of it, is limited to 
the public good of the society. It is a power, 
that hath no other end but preservation, and 
therefore can never* have a right to destroy, 

* Two foundations there are which bear up public socie- 
ties ; the one a natural inclination, whereby all men desire 
sociable life and fellowship ; the other an order, expressly or 
secretly agreed upon, touching the manner of their union in 
living together: the latter is that which we call the law of 
a common-weal, the very soul of a politic body, the parts 
whereof are by law animated, held together, and set on work 
in such actions as the common good requireth. Laws poli- 
tic, ordained for external order and regiment amongst men, 
are never framed as they should be, unless presuming tire 
will of man to be inwardly obstinate, rebellious, and averse 
from all obedience to the sacred laws of his nature ; in a 
word, unless presuming man to be, in regard of his depraved 
mind, little better than a wild beast, they do accordingly 
provide, notwithstanding, so to frame his outward actions, 
that they be no hindrance unto the common good, for which 
societies are instituted. Unless they do this, they are not 
perfect. Hookers Eccl. Pol. L i. sect. 10. 


enslave, or designedly to impoverish the sub- 
jects. The obligations of the law of nature 
cease not in society, but only in many cases 
are drawn closer, and have by human laws 
known penalties annexed to them, to inforce 
their observation. Thus the law of nature 
stands as an eternal rule to all men, legislators 
as well as others. The rules that they make 
for other men's actions, must, as well as their 
own and other men's actions, be conformable 
to the law of nature, i. e. to the will of God, 
of which that is a declaration, and the funda- 
mental law of nature being the preservation of 
mankind, no human sanction can be good, or 
valid against it. 

§. 136. Secondly, * The legislative, or su- 
preme authority, cannot assume to itself a 
power to rule by extemporary arbitrary decrees, 
but is bound to dispense justice, and decide the 
rights of the subject by promulgated standing 
laws, and known authorized judges : for the law 
of nature being unwritten, and so no where 
to be found but in the minds of men, they who 

• Human laws are measures in respect of men whose actions 
they must direct, howbeit such measures they are as have 
also their higher rules to be measured by, which rules are 
two, the law of God, and the law of nature ; so that laws 
human must be made according to the general laws of nature, 
and without contradiction to any positive law of scripture, 
otherwise they are ill made. Hooker s Eccl. Pol. I. hi. sect. 9. 

To constrain men to any thing inconvenient doth seem 
unreasonable. Ibid. I. i. sect. 10. 



through passion or interest shall miscite, or 
misapply it, cannot so easily be convinced of 
their mistake where there is no established 
judge : and so it serves not, as it ought, to 
determine the rights, and fence the properties 
of those that live under it, especially where 
every one is judge, interpreter, and executioner 
of it too, and that in his own case : and he 
that has right on his side, having ordinarily 
but his own single strength, hath not force 
enough to defend himself from injuries, or to 
punish delinquents. To avoid these inconve- 
niencies, which disorder men's properties in 
the state of nature, men unite into societies, 
that they may have the united strength of the 
whole society to secure and defend their pro- 
perties, and may have standing rules to bound 
it, by which every one may know what is his. 
To this end it is that men give up all their 
natural power to the society which they enter 
into, and the community put the legislative 
power into such hands as they think fit, with 
this trust, that they shall be governed by de- 
clared laws, or else their peace, quiet, and pro- 
perty will still be at the same uncertainty, as it 
was in the state of nature. 

§. 137. Absolute arbitrary power, or govern- 
ing without settled standing laws, can neither 
of them consist with the ends of society and 
government, which men would not quit the 
freedom of the state of nature for, and tie 
themselves up under, were it not to preserve 


their lives, liberties and fortunes, and by slated 
rules of right and property to secure their 
peace and quiet. It cannot be supposed that 
they should intend, had they a power so to do, 
to give any one, or more, an absolute arbitrary 
•power over their persons and estates, and put a 
force into the magistrate's hand to execute his 
unlimited will arbitrary upon them. This were 
to put themselves into a worse condition than 
the state of nature, wherein they had a liberty 
to defend their right against the injuries of 
others, and were upon equal terms of force to 
maintain it, whether invaded by a single man, 
or many in combination. Whereas by suppo- 
sing they have given up themselves to the 
absolute arbitrary power and will of a legislator, 
they have disarmed themselves, and armed 
him, to make a prey of them when he pleases ; 
he being in a much worse condition, who is 
exposed to the arbitrary power of one man, 
who has the command of 100,000, than he 
that is exposed to the arbitrary power of 
100,000 single men ; no body being secure, 
that his will, who has such a command, is 
better than that of other men, though his force 
be 100,000 times stronger. And therefore, 
whatever form the commonwealth is under, 
the ruling power ought to govern by declared 
and received laws, and not by extemporary 
dictates and undetermined resolutions: for 
then mankind will be in a far worse condition 
than in the state of nature, if they shall have 

x -2 


armed one, or a few men with the joint power 
of a multitude, to force them to obey at plea- 
sure the exorbitant and unlimited decrees of 
their sudden thoughts, or unrestrained, and till 
that moment unknown wills, without having 
any measures set down which may guide and 
justify their actions : for all the power the 
government has, being only for the good of the 
society, as it ought not to be arbitrary and at 
pleasure, so it ought to be exercised by esta- 
blished and promulgated laws; that both the 
people may know their duty, and be safe and 
secure within the limits of the law ; and the 
rulers too kept within their bounds, and not be 
tempted, by the power they have in their hands, 
to employ it to such purposes, and by such 
measures, as they would not have known, and 
own not willingly. 

§. 138. Thirdly, The supreme power cannot 
take from any man any part of his property 
without his own consent: for the preservation 
of property being the end of government, and 
that for which men enter into society, it neces- 
sarily supposes and requires, that the people 
should have property, without which they must 
be supposed to lose that, by entering into 
society, which was the end for which they 
entered into it ; too gross an absurdity for any 
man to own. Men therefore in society having 
property, they have such a right to the goods, 
which by the law of the community are theirs, 
that nobody hath a right to take their sub- 


stance or any part of it from them, without 
their own consent : without this they have no 
property at all ; for I have truly no property in 
that, wich another can by right take from me, 
when he pleases, against my consent. Hence 
it is a mistake to think, that the supreme or 
legislative power of any commonwealth can do 
what it will, and dispose of the estates of the 
subject arbitrarily, or take any part of them 
at pleasure. This is not much to be feared 
in governments where the legislative consists, 
wholly or in part, in assemblies which are 
variable, whose members, upon the dissolution 
of the assembly, are subjects under the com- 
mon laws of their country, equally with the 
rest. But in governments, where the legislative 
is in one lasting assembly always in being, or 
in one man, as in absolute monarchies, there 
is danger still, that they will think themselves 
to have a distinct interest from the rest of the 
community ; and so will be apt to increase 
their own riches and power, by taking what 
they think fit from the people : for a man's 
property is not at all secure, though there be 
good and equitable laws to set the bounds of 
it between him and his fellow-subjects, if he 
who commands those subjects have power to 
take from any private man, what part he 
pleases of his property, and use and dispose of 
it as he thinks good. 

§. 139. But government, into whatsoever 
hands it is put, being, as I have before shewed, 


intrusted with this condition, and for this end, 
that men might have and secure their proper- 
ties; the prince, or senate, however it may 
have power to make laws, for the regulating 
of property between the subjects one amongst 
another, yet can never have a power to take to 
themselves the whole, or any part of the sub- 
jects property, without their own consent: for 
this would be in effect to leave them no pro- 
perty at all. And to let us see, that even 
absolute power, where it is necessary, is not 
arbitrary by being absolute, but is still limited 
by that reason, and confined to those ends, 
which required it in some cases to be absolute, 
we need look no farther than the common 
practice of martial discipline: for the preser- 
vation of the army, and in it of the whole 
commonwealth, requires an absolute obedience 
to the command of every superior officer, and 
it is justly death to disobey or dispute the most 
dangerous or unreasonable of them ; but yet 
we see, that neither the serjeant, that could 
command a soldier to march up to the mouth 
of a cannon, or stand in a breach, where he is 
almost sure to perish, can command that sol- 
dier to give him one penny of his money ; nor 
the general, that can condemn him to death 
for deserting his post, or for not obeying the 
most desperate orders, can yet, with all his 
absolute power of life and death, dispose of 
one farthing of that soldier's estate, or seize 
one jot of his goods ; whom yet he can com- 


maud any thing-, and hang for the least dis- 
obedience; because such a blind obedience 
is necessary to that end, for which the com- 
mander has his power, viz. the preservation of 
the rest; but the disposing of his goods has 
nothing to do with it. 

§. 140. It is true, governments cannot be 
supported without great charge, and it is lit 
every one who enjoys his share of the protec- 
tion should pay out of his estate his proportion 
for the maintenance of it. But still it must be 
with his own consent, i. e. the consent of the 
majority, giving it either by themselves, or their 
representatives chosen by them : for if any one 
shall claim a power to lay and levy taxes on the 
people, by his own authority, and without such 
consent of the people, he thereby invades the 
fundamental law of property, and subverts the 
end of government : for what property have I 
in that, which another may by right take, when 
he pleases, to himself? 

§. 141. Fourthly, The legislative cannot 
transfer the power of making laws to any other 
hands : for it being but a delegated power from 
the people, they who have it cannot pass it 
over to others. The people alone can appoint 
the form of the commonwealth, which is by 
constituting the legislative, and appointing in 
whose hands that shall be. And when the 
people have said, We will submit to rules, and 
be governed by laws made by such men, and 
in such forms, no bodv else can say other men 


shall make laws for them ; nor can the people 
be bound by any laws, but such as are enacted 
by those whom they have chosen, and autho- 
rized to make laws for them. The power of 
the legislative, being derived from the people 
by a positive voluntary grant and institution, 
can be no other than what that positive grant 
conveyed, which being only to make laivs, and 
not to make legislators, the legislative can have 
no power to transfer their authority of making 
laws, and place it in other hands. 

§. 142. These are the bounds, which the 
trust, that is put in them by the society, and 
the law of God and nature, have set to the legis- 
lative power of every commonwealth, in all 
forms of government. 

First, they are to govern by promulgated 
established laics, not to be varied in particular 
cases, but to have one rule for rich and poor, 
for the favourite at court, and the country man 
at plough. 

Secondly, These laws also ought to be de- 
signed for no other end ultimately, but the good 
of the people. 

Thirdly, they must not raise Taxes on the 
property of the people, without the consent of the 
people, given by themselves, or their deputies. 
And this properly concerns only such govern- 
ments, where the legislative is always in being, 
or at least where the people have not reserved 
any part of the legislative to deputies, to be 
from time to time chosen bv themselves. 


Fourthly, the legislative neither must nor can 
transfer the power of making laws to any body 
else, or place it any where, but where the 
people have. 


Of the Legislative, Executive, and Federative 
Power of the Commonwealth. 

§. 143. The legislative power is that, which 
has a right to direct how the force of the com- 
monwealth shall be employed for preserving 
the community and members of it. But because 
those laws which are constantly to be executed, 
and whose force is always to continue, may be 
made in a little time ; therefore there is no 
need, that the legislative should be always in 
being, not having always business to do. And 
because it may be too great a temptation to 
human frailty, apt to grasp at power, for the 
same persons, who have the power of making- 
laws, to have also in their hands the power to 
execute them, whereby they may exempt them- 
selves from obedience to the laws they make, 
and suit the law, both in its making, and execu- 
tion, to their own private advantage, and thereby 
come to have a distinct interest from the rest 
of the community, contrary to the end of 
society and government: therefore in well- 
ordered commonwealths, where the good of 
the whole is so considered, as it ought, the 


legislative power is put into the hands of divers 
persons, who duly assembled, have by them- 
selves, or jointly with others, a power to make 
laws, which when they have done, being sepa- 
rated again, they are themselves subject to the 
laws they have made ; which is a new and near 
tie upon them, to take care, that they make 
them for the public good. 

§. 144. But because the laws, that are at 
once, and in a short time made, have a constant 
and lasting force, and need a perpetual execu- 
tion, or an attendance thereunto ; therefore it 
is necessary there should be a power always 
in being, which should see to the execution 
of the laws that are made, and remain in 
force. And thus the legislative and executive 
power come often to be separated. 

§. 145. There is another power in every 
commonwealth* which one may call natural, 
because it is that which answers to the power 
every man naturally had before he entered into 
society : for though in a commonwealth the 
members of it are distinct persons still in refer- 
ence to one another, and as such are governed 
by the laws of the society; yet in reference to 
the rest of mankind, they make one body, 
which is, as every member of it before was, 
stilt in the state of nature with the rest of man- 
kind. Hence it is, that the controversies that 
happen between any man of the society with 
those that are out of it, are managed by the 
public; and an injury done to a member of 


their body, engages the whole in the reparation 
of it. So that under this consideration, the 
whole community is one body in the state of 
nature, in respect of all other states or persons 
out of its community. 

§. 146. This therefore contains the power of 
war and peace, leagues and alliances, and all 
the transactions, with all persons and commu- 
nities without the commonwealth, and may be 
called federative, if any one pleases. So the 
thing be understood, I am indifferent as to the 

§. 147. These two powers, executive and 
federative, though they be really distinct in 
themselves, yet one comprehending the execu- 
tion of the municipal laws of the society within 
itself, upon all that are parts of it ; the other the 
management of the security and interest of the 
public without, with all those that it may receive 
benefit or damage from, yet they are always 
almost united. And though this federative 
power in the well or ill management of it be of 
great moment to the commonwealth, yet it is 
much less capable to be directed by antecedent, 
standing, positive laws, than the executive ; 
and so must necessarily be left to the prudence 
and wisdom of those, whose hands it is in, to 
be managed for the public good : for the laws 
that concern subjects one amongst another, 
being to direct their actions, may well enough 
precede them. But what is to be done iu refer- 
ence to foreigners, depending much upon their 


actions, and the variation of designs and 
interests, must be left in great part to the pru- 
dence of those, who have this power committed 
to them, to be managed by the best of their 
skill, for the advantage of the commonwealth. 
§. 148. Though, as I said, the executive and 
federative power of every community be really 
distinct in themselves, yet they are hardly to be 
separated, and placed at the same time, in the 
hands of distinct persons : for both of them re- 
quiring the force of the society for their exer- 
cise, it is almost impracticable to place the force 
of the commonwealth in distinct, and not sub- 
ordinate hands ; or that the executive and fede- 
rative power should be placed in persons, that 
might act separately, whereby the force of the 
public would be under different commands : 
which would be apt some time or other to cause 
disorder and ruin. 


Of the Subordination of the Powers of the 

§. 149. Though in a constituted common- 
wealth, standing upon its own basis, and acting 
according to its own nature, that is, acting for 
the preservation of the community, there can 
be but one supreme power, which is the legis- 
lative, to which all the rest are and must be 
subordinate, yet the legislative being only a 


fiduciary power to act for certain ends, there 
remains still in the people a supreme power to 
remove or alter the legislative, when they find 
the legislative act contrary to the trust reposed 
in them : for all power given with trust for the 
attaining an end, being- limited by that end, 
whenever that end is manifestly neglected, or 
opposed, the trust must necessarily he forfeited, 
and the power devolve into the hands of those 
that gave it, who may place it anew where they 
shall think best for their safety and security. 
And thus the community perpetually retains a 
supreme power of saving themselves from the 
attempts and designs of any body, even of their 
legislators, whenever they shall be so foolish, 
or so wicked, as to lay and carry on designs 
against the liberties and properties of the sub- 
ject : for no man or society of men, having a 
power to deliver up their preservation, or con- 
sequently the means of it, to the absolute will 
and arbitrary dominion of another ; whenever 
any one shall go about to bring them into such 
a slavish condition, they will always have a 
right to preserve what they have not a power to 
part with : and to rid themselves of those who 
invade this fundamental, sacred, and unalter- 
able law of self-preservation, for which they en- 
tered into society. And thus the community 
may be said in this respect to be always the su- 
preme power, but not as considered under any 
form of government, because this power of the 
people can never take place till the government 
be dissolved. 


§. 150. In all cases, whilst the government 
subsists, the legislative is the supreme power: 
for what can give laws to another, must needs 
be superior to him ; and since the legislative is 
no otherwise legislative of the society, but by 
the right it has to make laws for all the parts, 
and for every member of the society, prescrib- 
ing rules to their actions, and giving power of 
execution, where they are transgressed, the 
legislative must needs be the supreme, and all 
other powers, in any members or parts of the 
society, derived from and subordinate to it. 

§. 151. In some commonwealths, where the 
legislative is not always in being, and the execu- 
tive is vested in a single person, who has also a 
share in the legislative ; there that single person 
in a very tolerable sense may also be called 
supreme : not that he has in himself all the su- 
preme power, which is that of law-making ; but 
because he has in him the supreme execution, 
from whom all inferior magistrates derive all 
their several subordinate powers, or at least the 
greatest part of them : having also no legisla- 
tive superior to him, there being no law to be 
made without his consent, which cannot be 
expected should ever subject him to the other 
part of the legislative, he is properly enough in 
this sense supreme. But yet it is to be observed 
that though oaths of allegiance and fealty are 
taken to him, it is not to him as supreme legis- 
lator, but as supreme executor of the law, made 
by a joint power of him with others ; allegiance 


being nothing but an obedience according- to law, 
which when he violates, he has no right to obe- 
dience, nor can claim it otherwise than as the 
public person vested with the power of the law, 
and so is to be considered as the image, 
phantom, or representative of the common- 
wealth, acted by the will of the society, de- 
clared in its laws ; and thus he has no will, no 
power, but that of the law. But when he quits 
this representation, this public will, and acts by 
his own private will, he degrades himself, and 
is but a single private person without power, 
and without will, that has any right to obedience; 
the members owing no obedience but to the 
public will of the society. 

§. 152. The executive power, placed any- 
where but in a person that has also a share in 
the legislative, is visibly subordinate and ac- 
countable to it, and may be at pleasure changed 
and displaced ; so that it is not the supreme 
executive power, that is exempt from subordi- 
nation, but the supreme executive power vested 
in one, who having a share in the legislative, 
has no distinct superior legislative to be sub- 
ordinate and accountable to, farther than he 
himself shall join and consent ; so that he is no 
more subordinate than he himself shall think 
fit, which one may certainly conclude will be 
but very little. Of other ministerial and subor- 
dinate powers in a commonwealth, we need not 
speak, they being so multiplied with infinite 
variety, in the different customs and constitu- 


tions of distinct commonwealths, that it is im- 
possible to give a particular account of them 
all. Only thus much, which is necessary to 
our present purpose, we may take notice of 
concerning them, that they have no manner of 
authority, any of them, beyond what is by 
positive grant and commission delegated to 
them, and are all of them accountable to some 
other power in the commonwealth. 

§. 153. It is not necessary, no, nor so much 
as convenient, that the legislative should 
be always in being; but absolutely neces- 
sary that the executive power should, because 
there is not always need of new laws to be 
made, but always need of execution of the 
laws that are made. When the legislative 
hath put the execution of the laws, they make, 
into other hands, they have a power still to 
resume it out of those hands, when they find 
cause, and to punish for any mal- ad ministration 
against the laws. The same holds also in 
regard of the federative power, that and the 
executive being both ministerial and subordinate 
to the legislative, which, as has been shewed, in 
a constituted commonwealth is the supreme. 
The legislative also in this case being supposed 
to consist of several persons, (for if it be a 
single person, it cannot but be always in being, 
and so will, as supreme, naturally have the 
supreme executive power, together with the 
legislative) may assemble, and exercise their 
legislature, at the times that either their original 


constitution, or their own adjournment, appoints, 
or when they please ; if neither of these hath 
appointed any time, or there be no other way 
prescribed to convoke them : for the supreme 
power being- placed in them by the people, it 
is always in them, and they may exercise it 
when they please, unless by their original con- 
stitution, they are limited to certain seasons, 
or by an act of their supreme power they have 
adjourned to a certain time ; and when that 
time comes, they have a right to assemble and 
act again. 

§. 154. If the legislative, or any part of it, be 
made up of representatives chosen for that time 
by the people, which afterwards return into the 
ordinary state of subjects, and have no share in 
the legislature but upon a new choice, this 
power of ch using must also be exercised by 
the people, either at certain appointed seasons, 
or else when they are summoned to it; and 
in this latter case, the power of convoking the 
legislative is ordinarily placed in the executive, 
and has one of these two limitations in respect 
of time : that either the original constitution 
requires their assembling and acting at certain 
intervals, and then the executive power does 
nothing but ministerially issue directions for 
their electing and assembling, according to 
due forms ; or else it is left to his prudence to 
call them by new elections, when the occasions 
or exigencies of the public require the amend- 
ment of old, or making of new laws, or the re- 



dress or prevention of any inconveniencies, that 
lie on, or threaten the people. 

§. 155. It may be demanded here, What if 
the executive power, being possessed of the 
force of the commonwealth, shall make use of 
that force to hinder the meeting and acting of 
the legislative, when the original constitution, 
or the public exigencies require it? I say, 
using force upon the people without authority, 
and contrary to the trust put in him that does 
so, is a state of war with the people, who have 
aright to reinstate their legislative in the exercise 
of their power : for having erected a legislative, 
with an intent they should exercise the power 
of making laws, either at certain set times, or 
when there is need of it, when they are hin- 
dered by any force from what is so necessary 
to the society, and wherein the safety and 
preservation of the people consists, the people 
have a right to remove it by force. In all 
state and conditions, the true remedy of force 
without authority, is to oppose force to it. 
The use of force without authority always puts 
him that uses it into a state of tear, as the ag- 
gressor, and renders him liable to be treated ac- 

<§. 156. The poiver of assembling and dismis- 
sing the legislative, placed in the executive, 
gives not the executive a superiority over it, but 
is a fiduciary trust placed in him, for the safety 
of the people, in a case where the uncertainty 
and variableness of human affairs could not 
bear a steady fixed rule: for it not being 


possible, that the first framers of the govern- 
ment should, by any foresight, be so much 
masters of future events, as to be able to prefix 
so just periods of return and duration to the 
assemblies of the legislative, in all times to 
come, that might exactly answer all the exi- 
gencies of the commonwealth ; the best reme- 
dy could be found for this defect, was to trust 
this to the prudence of one who was always 
to be present, and whose business it was to 
watch over the public good. Constant fre- 
quent meetings of the legislative, and long con- 
tinuations of their assemblies, without neces- 
sary occasion, could not but be burdensome 
to the people, and must necessarily in time 
produce more dangerous inconveniencies, and 
yet the quick turn of affairs might be some- 
times such as to need their present help : any 
delay of their convening might endanger the 
public ; and sometimes too their business might 
be so great, that the limited time of their 
sitting might be too short for their work, and 
rob the public of that benefit which could be 
had only from their mature deliberation. What 
then could be done in this case to prevent the 
community from being exposed some time or 
other to eminent hazard, on one side or the 
other, by fixed intervals and periods, set to the 
meeting and acting of the legislative, but to in- 
trust it to the prudence of some, who being 
present, and acquainted with the state of pub- 
lic affairs, might make use of this prerogative 

y 2 


for the public good? and where else could 
this be so well placed as in his hands, who 
was intrusted with the execution of the laws 
for the same end ? Thus supposing the regula- 
tion of times for the assembling and sitting of 
the legislative, not settled by the original con- 
stitution, it naturally fell into the hands of the 
executive, not as an arbitrary power depend- 
ing on his good pleasure, but with this trust 
always to have it exercised only for the public 
weal, as the occurrences of times and change 
of affairs might require. Whether settled pe- 
riods of their convening, or a liberty left to the 
prince for convoking the legislative, or perhaps a 
mixture of both, hath the least inconvenience 
attending it, it is not my business here to en- 
quire, but only to shew, that though the execu- 
tive power may have the prerogative of con- 
voking and dissolving such conventions of the 
legislative, yet it is not thereby superior to it. 

§. 157. Things of this world are in so con- 
stant a flux, that nothing remains long in the 
same state. Thus people, riches, trade, power, 
change their stations, flourishing mighty cities 
come to ruin, and prove in time neglected 
desolate corners, whilst other unfrequented 
places grow into populous countries, filled with 
wealth and inhabitants. But things not always 
changing equally, and private interest often 
keeping up customs and privileges, when the 
reasons of them are ceased, it often comes to 
pass, that in governments, where part of the 


legislative consists of representatives chosen by 
the people, that in tract of time this represen- 
tation becomes very unequal and dispropor- 
tionate to the reasons it was at first established 
upon. To what gross absurdities the follow- 
ing of custom, when reason has left it, may 
lead, we may be satisfied, when we see the 
bare name of a town, of which there remains 
not so much as the ruins, where scarce so 
much housing as a sheepcote, or more inhabi- 
tants than a shepherd is to be found, sends as 
many representatives to the grand assembly of 
law-makers, as a whole county numerous in 
people, and powerful in riches. This strangers 
stand amazed at, and every one must confess 
needs a remedy; though most think it hard 
to find one, because the constitution of the 
legislative being the original and supreme act 
of the society, antecedent to all positive laws 
in it, and depending wholly on the people, no 
inferior power can alter it. And therefore the 
people, when the legislative is once constituted, 
having, in such a government as we have been 
speaking of, no power to act as long as the go- 
vernment stands ; this inconvenience is thought 
incapable of a remedy. 

§. 158. Solus populi suprema lex, is certainly 
so just and fundamental a rule, that he, who 
sincerely follows it, cannot dangerously err. If 
therefore the executive, who has the power of 
convoking the legislative, observing rather the 
true proportion, than fashion of representation^ 


regulates, not by old custom, but true reason, 
the number of members, in all places that have 
a right to be distinctly represented, which no 
part of the people however incorporated can 
pretend to, but in proportion to the assistance 
which it affords to the public, it cannot be 
judged to have set up a new legislative, but to 
have restored the old and true one, and to have 
rectified the disorders which succession of time 
had insensibly, as well as inevitably introduced : 
For it being the interest as well as intention of 
the people, to have a fair and equal representa- 
tive; whoever brings it nearest to that, is an 
undoubted friend to, and establisher of the 
government, and cannot miss the consent and 
approbation of the community; prerogative 
being nothing but a power, in the hands of the 
prince, to provide for the public good, in such 
cases, which depending upon unforeseen and 
uncertain occurrences, certain and unalterable 
laws could not safely direct; whatsoever shall 
be done manifestly for the good of the people, 
and the establishing the government upon its 
true foundations, is and always will be, just 
prerogative. The power of erecting new corpo- 
rations, and therewith new representatives, 
carries with it a supposition, that in time the 
measures of representation might vary, and those 
places have a just right to be represented which 
before had none ; and by the same reason, 
those cease to have a right, and be too incon- 
siderable for such a privilege, which before 


had it. 'Tis not a change from the present 
state, which perhaps corruption or decay has 
introduced, that makes an inroad upon the 
government, but the tendency of it to injure or 
oppress the people, and to set up one part or 
party, with a distinction from, and an unequal 
subjection of the rest. Whatsoever cannot but 
be acknowledged to be of advantage to the 
society, and people in general, upon just and 
lasting measures, will always, when done, justify 
itself; and whenever the people shall chuse 
their representatives upon just and undeniably 
equal measures, suitable to the original frame ot 
the government, it cannot be doubted to be the 
will and act of the society, whoever permitted 
or caused them so to do. 



§. 159. Where the legislative and executive 
power are in distinct hands, (as they are in all 
moderated monarchies, and well-framed govern- 
ments) there the good of the society requires, 
that several things should be left to the discre- 
tion of him that has the executive power : for the 
legislators not being able to foresee, and 
provide by laws, for all that may be useful to 
the community, the executor of the laws, 
having the power in his hands, has by the 
common law of nature a right to make use of 


it for the good of the society, in many cases, 
where the municipal law has given no direction, 
till the legislative can conveniently be assembled 
to provide for it. Many things there are, which 
the law can by no means provide for; and those 
must necessarily be left to the discretion of him 
that has the executive power in his hands, to 
be ordered by him as the public good and 
advantage shall require : nay, it is fit that the 
laws themselves should in some cases give way 
to the executive power, or rather to this funda- 
mental law of nature and government, viz. 
That as much as may be all the members of the 
society are to be preserved : for since many 
accidents may happen, wherein a strict and 
rigid observation of the laws may do harm ; 
(as not to pull down an innocent man's house 
to stop the fire, when the next to it is burning) 
and a man may come sometimes within the 
reach of the law, which makes no distinction 
of persons, by an action that may deserve 
reward and pardon ; 'tis fit the ruler should 
have a power, in many cases, to mitigate the 
severity of the law, and pardon some offenders: 
for the end of government being the preserva- 
tion of all, as much as may be, even the guilty 
are to be spared, where it can prove no preju- 
dice to the innocent. 

§. 160. This power to act according to dis- 
cretion, for the public good, without the pres- 
cription of the law, and sometimes even against 
it, is that which is called prerogative: for since 


in some governments the law-making power is 
not always in being, and is usually too nume- 
rous, and so too slow, for the dispatch requi- 
site to execution ; and because also it is im- 
possible to foresee, and so by laws to provide 
for, all accidents and necessities that may con- 
cern the public, or to make such laws as will 
do no harm, if they are executed with an in- 
flexible rigour, on all occasions, and upon 
all persons that may come in their way ; there- 
fore there is a latitude left to the executive 
power, to do many things of choice which the 
laws do not prescribe. 

§. 161. This power, whilst employed for the 
benefit of the community, and suitably to the 
trust and ends of the government, is undoubted 
prerogative, and never is questioned : for the 
people are very seldom or never scrupulous or 
nice in the point ; they are far from examining 
prerogative, whilst it is in any tolerable degree 
employed for the use it was meant, that is, for 
the good of the people, and not manifestly 
against it ; but if there comes to be a question 
between the executive power and the people, 
about a thing claimed as a prerogative ; the 
tendency of the exercise of such prerogative to 
the good or hurt of the people, will easily 
decide that question. 

§. 162. It is easy to conceive, that in the 
infancy of governments, when commonwealths 
differed little from families in number of people, 
they differed from them too but little in number 


of laws : and the governors, being as the fathers 
of them, watching over them for their good, the 
government was almost a\\ prerogative. A few 
established laws served the turn, and the dis- 
cretion and care of the ruler supplied the rest. 
But when mistake or flattery prevailed with 
weak princes to make use of this power for 
private ends of their own, and not for the public 
good, the people were fain by express laws to 
get prerogative determined in those points 
wherein they found disadvantage from it: and 
thus declared limitations of prerogative were by 
the people found necessary in cases which they 
and their ancestors had left, in the utmost 
latitude, to the wisdom of those princes who 
made no other but a right use of it, that is, for 
the good of their people. 

163. And therefore they have a very wrong 
notion of government, who say, that the people 
have incroached upon the prerogative, when they 
have got any part of it to be defined by positive 
laws : for in so doing they have not pulled 
from the prince anything that of right belonged 
to him, but only declared, that that power 
which they indefinitely left in his or his ances- 
tors hands, to be exercised for their good, was 
not a thing which they intended him when he 
used it otherwise: for the end of government 
being the good of the community, whatsoever 
alterations are made in it, tending to that end, 
cannot be an incroachment upon any body, since 
no body in government can have a right tending 


to any other end : and those only are incroach- 
metits which prejudice or hinder the public 
good. Those who say otherwise, speak as if 
the prince had a distinct and separate interest 
from the good of the community, and was not 
made for it; the root and source from which 
spring almost all those evils and disorders which 
happen in kingly governments. And indeed, 
if that be so, the people under his govern- 
ment are not a society of rational creatures, 
entered into a community for their mutual 
good ; they are not such as have set rulers over 
themselves, to guard, and promote that good ; 
but are to be looked on as an herd of inferior 
creatures under the dominion of a master, who 
keeps them and works them for his own plea- 
sure or profit. If men were so void of reason, 
and brutish, as to enter into society upon such 
terms, prerogative might indeed be, what some 
men would have it, an arbitrary power to do 
things hurtful to the people. 

§. 164. But since a rational creature cannot 
be supposed, when free, to put himself into 
subjection to another, for his own harm ; 
(though, where he finds a good and wise ruler, 
he may not perhaps think it either necessary or 
useful to set precise bounds to his power in all 
things) prerogative can be nothing but the 
peoples permitting their rulers to do several 
things, of their own free choice, where the law 
was silent, and sometimes too against the 
direct letter of the law, for the public good ; 


and their acquiescing in it when so done : for 
as a good prince, who is mindful of the trust 
put into his hands, and careful of the good of 
his people, cannot have too much prerogative, 
that is, power to do good ; so a weak and ill 
prince, who would claim that power which his 
predecessors exercised without the direction 
of the law, as a prerogative belonging to him 
by right of his office, which he may exercise at 
his pleasure, to make or promote an interest 
distinct from that of the public, gives the people 
an occasion to claim their right, and limit that 
power, which, whilst it was exercised for their 
good, they were content should be tacitly 

§. 165. And therefore he that will look into 
the history of England, will find, that preroga- 
tive was always largest in the hands of our 
wisest and best princes ; because the people, 
observing the whole tendency of their actions 
to be the public good, contested not what was 
done without law to that end : or, if any human 
frailty or mistake (for princes are but men, 
made as others) appeared in some small decli- 
nations from that end ; yet 'twas visible, the 
main of their conduct tended to nothing but 
the care of the public. The people therefore, 
finding reason to be satisfied with these princes, 
whenever they acted without, or contrary to 
the letter of the law, acquiesced in what they 
did, and, without the least complaint, let them 
inlarge their prerogative as they pleased, judg- 


ing rightly, that they did nothing herein to the 
prejudice of their laws, since they acted con- 
formable to the foundation and end of all laws, 
the public good. 

§. 166. Such godlike princes indeed had 
some title to arbitrary power by that argument, 
that would prove absolute monarchy the best 
government, as that which God himself governs 
the universe by ; because such kings partake 
of his wisdom and goodness. Upon this is 
founded that saying, That the reigns of good 
princes have been always most dangerous to 
the liberties of their people: for when their 
successors, managing the government with 
different thoughts, would draw the actions of 
those good rulers into precedent, and make 
them the standard of their prerogative : as if 
what had been done only for the good of the 
people was a right in them to do, for the harm 
of the people, if they so pleased ; it has often 
occasioned contest, and sometimes public 
disorders, before the people could recover their 
original right, and get that to be declared not 
to be prerogative, which truly was never so ; 
since it is impossible that any body in the 
society should ever have a right to do the 
people harm ; though it be very possible, and 
reasonable, that the people should not go about 
to set any bounds to the prerogative of those 
kings, or rulers, who themselves transgressed 
not the bounds of the public good : for prero- 


gative is nothing but the power of doing public 
good without a rule. 

§. 167. The power of calling parliaments in 
England, as to precise time, place, and dura- 
tion, is certainly a prerogative of the king, but 
still with this trust, that it shall be made use of 
for the good of the nation, as the exigencies of 
the times, and variety of occasions, shall require; 
for it being impossible to foresee which should 
always be the fittest place for them to assemble 
in, and what the best season ; the choice of 
these was left with the executive power, as 
might be most subservient to the public good, 
and best suit the ends of parliaments. 

§. 1G8. The old question will be asked in 
this matter of prerogative, But ivho shall be 
judge when this power is made a right use of? 
I answer : between an executive power in being, 
with such a prerogative, and a legislative that 
depends upon his will for ther convening, there 
can be no judge on earth ; as there can be none 
between the legislative and the people, should 
either the executive, or the legislative, when 
they have got the power in their hands, design, 
or go about to enslave or destroy them. The 
people have no other remedy in this, as in all 
other cases where they have no judge on earth, 
but to appeal to heaven: for the rulers, in such 
attempts, exercising a power the people never 
put into their hands, (who can never be supposed 
to consent that any body should rule over them 
for their harm) do that which they have not a 


right to do. And where the body of the people, 
or any single man, is deprived of their right, oi- 
ls under the exercise of a power without right, 
and have no appeal on earth, then they have a 
liberty to appeal to heaven, whenever they 
judge the cause of sufficient moment. And 
therefore, though the people cannot he judge, so 
as to have, by the constitution of that society, 
any superior power, to determine and give effec- 
tive sentence in the case ; yet they have, by a 
law antecedent and paramount to all positive 
laws of men, reserved that ultimate determi- 
nation to themselves which belongs to all man- 
kind, where there lies no appeal on earth, viz. 
to judge, whether they have just cause to make 
their appeal to heaven. And this judgment 
they cannot part with, it being out of a man's 
power so to submit himself to another, as to 
give him a liberty to destroy him ; God and 
nature never allowing a man so to abandon 
himself, as to neglect his own preservation : 
and since he cannot take away his own life, 
neither can he give another power to take it. 
Nor let any one think, this lays a perpetual 
foundation for disorder: for this operates not, 
till the inconveniency is so great, that the 
majority feel it, and are weary of it, and find 
a necessity to have it amended. But this the 
executive power, or wise princes, never need 
come in the danger of: and it is the thing, of 
all others, they have most need to avoid, as of 
all others the most perilous. 



Of Paternal, Political, and Despotical Power, 
considered together. 

§. 169. Though I have had occasion to speak 
of these separately before, yet the great mis- 
takes of late about government having, as I 
suppose, arisen from confounding these distinct 
powers one with another, it may not, perhaps, 
be amiss to consider them here together. 

§. 170. First, then, Paternal or parental power 
is nothing but that which parents have over their 
children, to govern them for the children's good, 
till they come to the use of reason, or a state of 
knowledge, wherein they may be supposed 
capable to understand that rule, whether it be 
the law of nature, or the municipal law of their 
country, they are to govern themselves by : 
capable, I say, to know it, as well as several 
others, who live as freemen under that law. 
The affection and tenderness which God hath 
planted in the breast of parents towards their 
children, makes it evident, that this is not 
intended to be a severe arbitrary government, 
but only for the help, instruction, and preserva- 
tion of their offspring. But happen it as it will, 
there is, as 1 have proved, no reason why it 
should be thought to extend to life and death, 
at any time, over their children, more than over 
any body else ; neither can there be any pre- 


tence why this parental power should keep the 
child, when grown to a man, in subjection to 
the will of his parents, any farther than having 
received life and education from his parents, 
obliges him to respect, honour, gratitude, assis- 
tance and support, all his life, to both father 
and mother. And thus, 'tis true, the paternal 
is a natural government, but not at all extending 
itself to the ends and jurisdictions of that which 
is political. The power of the father doth not 
reach at all to the property of the child, which 
is only in his own disposing. 

§. 171. Secondly, Political power is that 
power, which every man having in the state of 
nature, has given up into the hands of the 
society, and therein to the governors, whom 
the society hath set over itself, with this express 
or tacit trust, that it shall be employed for their 
good, and the preservation of their property : 
now this power, which every man has in the 
state of nature, and which he parts with to the 
society in all such cases where the society 
can secure him, is to use such means, for the 
preserving of his own property, as he thinks 
good, and nature allows him; and to punish 
the breach of the law of nature in others, so as 
(according to the best of his reason) may most 
conduce to the preservation of himself, and the 
rest of mankind. So that the end and measure 
of this power, when in every man's hands in 
the state of nature, being the preservation of all 
of his society, that is, all mankind in general, 



it can have no other end or measure, when in 
the hands of the magistrate, but to preserve the 
members of that society in their lives, liberties, 
and possessions ; and so cannot be an absolute, 
arbitrary power over their lives and fortunes, 
which are as much as possible to be preserved ; 
but a power to make laws, and annex such 
penalties to them, as may tend to the preserva- 
tion of the whole, by cutting off those parts, 
and those only, which are so corrupt, that 
they threaten the sound and healthy, without 
which no severity is lawful. And this power 
has its original only from compact and agree- 
ment, and the mutual consent of those who 
make up the community. 

§. 172. Thirdly, Despotical power is an 
absolute, arbitrary power one man has over 
another, to take away his life, whenever he 
pleases. This is a power, which neither na- 
ture gives, for it has made no such distinction 
between one man and another ; nor compact 
can convey : for man not having such an 
arbitrary power over his own life, cannot give 
another man such a power over it ; but it is the 
effect only of forfeiture, which the aggressor 
makes' of his own life, when he puts himself 
into the state of war with another : for having 
quitted reason, which God hath given to be the 
rule betwixt man and man, and the common 
bond whereby human kind is united into one 
fellowship and society ; and having renounced 
the way of peace which that teaches, and 


made use of the force of war, to compass his 
unjust ends upon another, where he has no 
right; and so revolting from his own kind to 
that of beasts, by making force, which is 
their's, to be his rule of right, he renders him- 
self liable to be destroyed by the injured 
person, and the rest of mankind that will join 
with him in the execution of justice, as any 
other wild beast, or noxious brute, with whom 
mankind can have neither society nor security.* 
And thus captives, taken in a just and lawful 
war, and such only, are subject to a despot ical 
power, which, as it arises not from compact, 
so neither is it capable of any, but is the state 
of war continued : for what compact can be 
made with a man that is not master of his 
own life? what condition can he perform? and 
if he be once allowed to be master of his own 
life, the despotical, arbitrary poiver of his 
master ceases. He that is master of himself, 
and his own life, has a right too to the means 
of preserving it ; so that as soon as compact 
enters, slavery ceases, and he so far quits his 
absolute power, and puts an end to the state 
of war, who enters into conditions with his 

§. 173. Nature gives the first of these, viz. 
paternal poiver to jmreuts for the benefit of their 
children during their minority, to supply their 
want of ability, and understanding how to 

* Another copy corrected by Mr. Locke, has it thus, 
Noxious brute that is destructive to their being. 

z 2 


manage their property. (By property I must 
be understood here, as in other places, to mean 
that property which men have in their persons 
as well as goods.) Voluntary agreement gives 
the second, viz. political power to governors for 
the benefit of their subjects, to secure them in 
the possession and use of their properties. 
And forfeiture gives the third, despot ical power 
to lords for their own benefit, over those who 
are stripped of all property. 

§. 174. He that shall consider the distinct 
rise and extent, and the different ends of these 
several powers, will plainly see, that paternal 
power comes as far short of that of the magis- 
trate, as despotical exceeds it; and that absolute 
dominion, however placed, is so far from being 
one kind of civil society, that it is as inconsistent 
with it, as slavery is with property. Paternal 
power is only where minority makes the child 
incapable to manage his property ; political, 
where men have property in their own disposal ; 
and despotical, over such as have no property 
at all. 



{. 175. Though governments can originally 
have no other rise than that before mentioned, 
nor politics be founded on any thing but the 
consent of the people ; yet such have been the 


disorders ambition has filled the world with, 
(hut in the noise of war, which makes so great 
a part of the history of mankind, this consent is 
little taken notice of: and therefore many have 
mistaken the force of arms for the consent of 
the people, and reckon conquest as one of the 
originals of government. Hut conquest is as far 
from setting up any government, as demolishing 
an house is from building a new one in the 
place. Indeed, it often makes way for a new 
frame of a commonwealth, by destroying the 
former ; but, without the consent of the people, 
can never erect a new one. 

§. 170'. That the aggressor, who puts himself 
into the state of war with another, and unjustly 
invades another man's right, can, by such an 
unjust war, never come to have a right over the 
conquered, will be easily agreed by all men, 
who will not think, that robbers and py rates 
have a right of empire over whomsoever they 
have force enough to master; or that men are 
bound by promises, which unlawful force extorts 
from them. Should a robber break into my 
house, and with a dagger at my throat make 
me seal deeds to convey my estate to him, 
would this give him any title ( Just such a 
title, by his sword, has an unjust conqueror, 
who forces me into submission. The injury 
and the crime is equal, whether committed by 
the wearer of a crown, or some petty villain. 
The title of the offender, and the number of his 
followers, make no difference in the offence, 


unless it be to aggravate it. The only difference 
is, great robbers punish little ones, to keep 
them in their obedience; but the great ones 
are rewarded with laurels and triumphs, be- 
cause they are too big for the weak hands of 
justice in this world, and have the power in 
their own possession, which should punish 
offenders. What is my remedy against a 
robber, that so broke into my house ? Appeal 
to the laAV for justice. But perhaps justice is 
denied, or I am crippled and cannot stir, 
robbed and have not the means to do it. If 
God has taken away all means of seeking 
remedy, there is nothing left but patience. But 
my son, when able, may seek the relief of the 
law, which I am denied : he or his son may 
renew his appeal, till he recover his right. But 
the conquered, or their children, have no court, 
*no arbitrator on earth to appeal to. Then they 
may appeal, as Jephtha did, to heaven, and 
repeat their appeal till they have recovered the 
native right of their ancestors, which was, to 
have such a legislative over them, as the 
majority should approve, and freely acquiesce 
in. If it be objected, This would cause endless 
trouble; I answer, no more than justice does, 
where she lies open to all that appeal to her. 
He that troubles his neighbour without a cause, 
is punished for it by the justice of the court he 
appeals to : and he that appeals to heaven must 
be sure he has right on his side; and aright 
too I lint is worth the trouble and cost of the 


appeal, as he will answer at a tribunal that 
cannot be deceived, and will be sure to retri- 
bute to every one according to the mischiefs 
he hath created to his fellow-subjects ; that is, 
any part of mankind : from whence it is plain, 
that he that conquers in an unjust war, can 
thereby have no title to the subjection and obedi- 
ence of the conquered. 

§. 177. But supposing victory favours the 
right side, let us consider a conqueror in a law- 
ful tvar, and see what power he gets, and over 

First, It is plain he gets no power by his con- 
quest over those that conquered with him. They 
that fought on his side cannot suffer by the 
conquest, but must at least be as much freemen 
as they were before. And most commonly they 
serve upon terms, and on condition to share 
with their leader, and enjoy a part of the spoil, 
and other advantages that attend the conquer- 
ing sword ; or'at least have a part of the subdued 
country bestowed upon them. And the con- 
quering people are not, 1 hope, to be slaves by 
conquest, and wear their laurels only to shew 
they are sacrifices to their leader's triumph. 
They, that found absolute monarchy upon the 
title of the sword, make their heroes, who are 
the founders of such monarchies, arrant Draic- 
cansirs and forget they had any officers and 
soldiers that fought on their side in the battles 
they won, or assisted them in the subduing, or 
shared in possessing, the countries they master- 


ed. We are told by some, that the English 
monarchy is founded in the Norman conquest, 
and that our princes have thereby a title to 
absolute dominion : which if it were true, (as 
by the history it appears otherwise) and that 
William had a right to make war on this island: 
yet his dominion by conquest could reach no 
farther than to the Saxons and Britons, that 
were then inhabitants of this country. The 
Normans that came with him, and helped to 
conquer, and all descended from them, are 
freemen, and no subjects by conquest ; let that 
give what dominion it will. And if I, or any 
body else, shall claim freedom, as derived from 
them, it will be very hard to prove the contrary : 
and it is plain, the law, that has made no dis- 
tinction between the one and the other, intends 
not there should be any difference in their 
freedom or privileges. 

<§. 178. But supposing, which seldom hap- 
pens, that the conquerors and conquered never 
incorporate into one people, under the same 
laws and freedom ; let us see next what power a 
lawful conqueror has over the subdued: and that 
I say is purely despotical. He has an absolute 
power over the lives of those who by an unjust 
war have forfeited them ; but not over the lives 
or fortunes of those who engaged not in the 
war, nor over the possessions even of those 
who were actually engaged in it. 

§. 179. Secondly, I say then the conqueror 
gets no power but only over those who have 


actually assisted, concurred, or consented to 
that unjust force that is used against him : for 
the people having given to their governors no 
power to do an unjust thing, such as is to 
make an unjust war, (for they never had 'such 
a power in themselves) they ought not to be 
charged as guilty of the violence and injustice 
that is committed in an unjust war, any farther 
than they actually abet it; no more than they 
are to be thought guilty of any violence or 
oppression their governors should use upon 
the people themselves, or any part of their 
fellow-subjects, they having impowered them no 
more to the one than to the other. Conquerors, 
it is true, seldom trouble themselves to make 
the distinction, but they willingly permit the 
confusion of war to sweep all together: but 
yet this alters not the right ; for the conqueror's 
power over the lives of the conquered, being- 
only because they have used force to do, or 
maintain an injustice, he can have that power 
only over those who have concurred in that 
force; all the rest are innocent ; and he has no 
more title over the people of that country, who 
have done him no injury, and so have made no 
forfeiture of their lives, than he has over any 
other, who, without any injuries or provoca- 
tions, have lived upon fair terms with him. 

§. 180. Thirdly, The power a conqueror gels, 
over those he overcomes in a just war, isperfectly 
despolicak he has an absolute povveroverthe lives 
oi those, who by putting themselves in a state 


of war, have forfeited them ; but he has not 
thereby a right and title to their possessions. 
This I doubt not, but at first sight will seem a 
strange doctrine, it being so quite contrary to 
the practice of the world ; there being nothing 
more familiar in speaking of the dominion of 
countries, than to say such an one conquered 
it : as if the conquest, without any more ado, 
conveyed a right of possession. But when we 
consider, that the practice of the strong and 
powerful, how universal soever it may be, is 
seldom the rule of right, however it be oue part 
of the subjection of the conquered, not to argue 
against the conditions cut out to them by the 
conquering sword. 

§. 181. Though in all war there be usually 
a complication of force and damage, and the 
aggressor seldom fails to harm the estate, when 
he uses force against the persons of those he 
makes war upon, yet it is the use of force only 
that puts a man into the state of war: for 
whether by force he begins the injury, or else 
having quietly, and by fraud, done the injury, he 
refuses to make reparation, and by force main- 
tains it, (which is the same thing, as at first to 
have done it by force) it is the unjust use of force, 
that makes the war : for he that breaks open my 
house, and violently turns me out of doors ; or 
having peaceably got in, by force keeps me out, 
does in effect the same thing ; supposing we are 
in such a state, that we have no common judge 
on earth, whom I may appeal to, and to whom 


we are both obliged to submit : for of such I 
am now speaking. It is the unjust use of force, 
then, that puis a man into the state of war with 
another; and thereby he that is guilty of it 
makes a forfeiture of his life : for quitting 
reason, which is the rule given between man 
and man, and using force, the way of beasts, 
lie becomes liable to be destroyed by him lie 
uses force against, as any savage ravenous 
beast, that is dangerous to his being. 

§. 182. But because the miscarriages of the 
father are no faults of the children, and they 
may be rational and peaceable, notwithstand- 
ing the brntishness and injustice of the father; 
the father, by his miscarriages and violence, 
can forfeit but his own life, but involves not his 
children in his guilt or destruction. His goods, 
which nature, that willeth the preservation of 
all mankind as much as is possible, hath made 
to belong to the children to keep them from 
perishing, do still continue to belong to his 
children : for supposing them not to have 
joined in the war, either through infancy, ab- 
sence, or choice, they have done nothing to 
forfeit them : nor has the conqueror any right 
to take them away, by the bare title of having 
subdued him that by force attempted his de- 
struction ; though perhaps he may have some 
right to them, to repair the damages he has 
sustained by the war, and the defence of his 
own right ; which how far it reaches to the 
possessions of the conquered, we shall see by- 


and-by. So that he that by conquest has a 
right over a maris person to destroy him if he 
pleases, has not thereby a right over his estate 
to possess and enjoy it: for it is the brutal 
force the aggressor has used, that gives his 
adversary a right to take away his life, and 
destroy him if he pleases, as a noxious crea- 
ture ; but it is damage sustained that alone 
gives him title to another man's goods : for 
though I may kill a theif that sets on me in 
the highway, yet I may not (which seems less) 
take away his money, and let him go : this 
would be robbery on my side. His force, and 
the state of war he puts himself in, made him 
forfeit his life, but gave me no title to his 
goods. The right then of conquest extends 
only to the lives of those who joined in the war, 
not to their estates, but only in order to make 
reparation for the damages received, and the 
charges of the war, and that too with reser- 
vation of the right of the innocent wife and 

§. 183. Let the conqueror have as much 
justice on his side, as could be supposed, he 
has no right to seize more than the vanquished 
could forfeit : his life is at the victor's mercy ; 
and his service and goods he may appropriate, 
to make himself reparation ; but he cannot 
take the goods of his wife and children; they 
too had a title to the goods he enjoyed, and 
their shares in the estate he possessed : for ex- 
ample, t in the state of nature (and all com- 


monwcalths are in the state of nature one with 
another) have injured another man, and refu- 
sing to give satisfaction, it conies to a state 
of war, wherein my defending by force what 
I had gotten unjustly, makes me the aggressor. 
I am conquered : my life, it is true, as forfeit, 
is at mercy, but not my wife's and children's. 
They made not war, nor assisted in it. 1 
could not forfeit their lives ; they were not 
mine to forfeit. My wife had a share in my 
estate ; that neither could I forfeit. And my 
children also, being born of me, had a right to 
be maintained out of my labour or substance. 
Here then is the case : the conqueror has a 
title to reparation for damages received, and 
the children have a title to their fathers estate 
for their subsistence : for as to the wife's share, 
whether her own labour or compact, gave her 
a title to it, it is plain, her husband could not 
forfeit what was her's. What must be done 
in the case? I answer; the fundamental law 
of nature being, that all, as much as may be, 
should be preserved, it follows, that if there be 
not enough fully to satisfy both, viz. for the 
conqueror s losses, and children's maintenance, 
he that hath, and to spare, must remit some- 
thing of his full satisfaction, and give w r ay to 
the pressing and preferable title of those who 
are in danger to perish without it. 

§. 184. But supposing the charge and 
damages of the tear are to be made up to the 
conqueror, to the utmost farthing; and that 


the children of the vanquished, spoiled of all 
their fathers goods, are to be left to starve and 
perish : yet the satisfying of what shall, on this 
score, be due to the conqueror, will scarce give 
him a title to any country he should conquer : 
for the damages of war can scarce amount to 
the value of any considerable tract of land, in 
any part of the world, where all the land is 
possessed, and none lies waste. And if 1 
have not taken away the conqueror's land, 
which, being vanquished, it is impossible I 
should ; scarce any other spoil I have done 
him can amount to the value of mine, suppo- 
sing it equally cultivated, and of an extent any 
way coming near what I had over-run of his. 
The destruction of a year's product or two 
(for it seldom reaches four or five) is the ut- 
most spoil that usually can be done : for as to 
money, and such riches and treasure taken 
away, these are none of nature's goods, they 
have but a fantastical imaginary value: nature 
has put no such upon them : they are of no 
more account by her standard, than the wam- 
pompeke of the Americans to an European 
prince, or the silver money of Europe would 
have been formerly to an American. And 
five years product is not worth the perpetual 
inheritance of land, where all is possessed, and 
none remains waste, to be taken up by him 
that is disseized : which will be easily granted, 
if one do but take away the imaginary value 
of money, the disproportion being more than 


between five and five hundred; though, at the 
same time, half a year's product is more worth 
than the inheritance, where there being more 
land than the inhabitants possess and make 
use of, any one has liberty to make use of the 
waste: but there conquerors take little care 
to possess themselves of the lands of the van- 
quished. No damage therefore, that men in 
the state of nature (as all princes and govern- 
ments are in reference to one another) suffer 
from one another, can give a conqueror power 
to dispossess the posterity of the vanquished, 
and turn them out of that inheritance, which 
ought to be the possession of them and their 
descendants to all generations. The conqueror 
indeed will be apt to think himself master : and 
it is the very condition of the subdued not to be 
able to dispute their right. But if that be all, 
it gives no other title than what bare force gives 
to the stronger over the weaker: and, by this 
reason, he that is strongest will have a right to 
whatever he pleases to seize on. 

§. 185. Over those then that joined with him 
in the war, and over those of the subdued 
country that opposed him not, and the posterity 
even of those that did, the conqueror, even in 
a just war, hath, by his conquest, no right of 
dominion: they are free from any subjection to 
him, and if their former government be dis- 
solved, they are at liberty to begin and erect 
another to themselves. 

§. 180. The conqueror, it is true, usually. 


by the force he has over them, compels them, 
with a sword at their breasts, to stoop to his 
conditions, and submit to such a government 
as he pleases to afford them ; but the enquiry 
is, what right he has to do so? If it be said, 
they submit by their own consent, then this 
allows their own consent to be necessary to give 
the conqueror a title to rule over them. It 
remains only to be considered, whether promises 
extorted by force, without right, can be thought 
consent, and how far they bind. To which I shall 
say, they bind not at all ; because whatsoever 
another gets from me by force, I still retain the 
right of, and he is obliged presently to restore. 
He that forces my horse from me, ought 
presently to restore him, and I have still a 
right to retake him. By the same reason, he 
that forced a promise from me, ought presently 
to restore it, i. e. quit me of the obligation of 
it ; or I may resume it myself, i. e. chuse 
whether I will perform it: for the law of nature 
laying an obligation on me only by the rules 
she prescribes, cannot oblige me by the viola- 
tion of her rules : such is the extorting any thing 
from me by force. Nor does it at all alter the 
case to say, I gave my promise, no more than it 
excuses the force, and passes the right, when 
I put my hand in my pocket, and deliver my 
purse myself to a thief, who demands it with 
a pistol at my breast. 

§. 187. From all which it follows that the 
government of a conqueror, imposed by force on 


the subdued, against whom he had no right of 
war, or who joined not in the war against him, 
where he had right, has no obligation upon 

§. 188. But let us suppose, that all the men 
of that community, being all members of the 
same body politic, may be taken to have joined 
in that unjust war wherein they are subdued, 
and so their lives are at the mercy of the 

§. 189. I say, this concerns not their children 
who are in their minority : for since a father 
hath not, in himself, a power over the life or 
liberty of his child, no act of his can possibly 
forfeit it. So that the children, whatever may 
have happened to the fathers, are freemen, and 
the absolute power of the conqueror reaches no 
farther than the persons of the men that were 
subdued by him, and dies with them : and 
should he govern them as slaves, subjected to 
his absolute arbitrary power, he has no such 
right of dominion over their childre?i. He can 
have no power over them but by their own con- 
sent, whatever he may drive them to say or do ; 
and he has no lawful authority, whilst force, 
and not choice, compels them to submission. 

§. 190. Every man is born with a double 
right: First , aright of freedom to his person, 
which no other man has a power over, but the 
free disposal of it lies in himself. Secondly, a 
right, before any other man, to inherit with his 
brethren his father 's goods. 

2 a 


§. 191. By the first of these, a man is na- 
turally free from subjection to any government, 
though he be born in a place under its jurisdic- 
tion ; but if he disclaim the lawful government 
of the country he was born in, he must also 
quit the right that belonged to him by the laws 
of it, and the possessions there descending to 
him from his ancestors, if it were a government 
made by their consent. 

§. 192. By the second, the inhabitants of any 
country, who are descended, and derive a title 
to their estates from those who are subdued, 
and had a government forced upon them 
against their free consents, retain a right to 
the j>ossession of their ancestors, though they 
consent not freely to the government, whose 
hard conditions were by force imposed on the 
possessors of that country : for the first con- 
queror never having had a title to the land of that 
country, the people who are the descendents 
of, or claim under those who were forced to 
submit to the yoke of a government by con- 
straint, have always a right to shake it off, and 
free themselves from the usurpation or tyranny 
which the sword hath brought in upon them, 
till their rulers put them under such a frame of 
government, as they willingly and of choice 
consent to. Who doubts but the Grecian 
christians, descendents of the ancient possessors 
of that country, may justly cast off the Turkish 
yoke, which they have so long groaned under, 
whenever they have an opportunity to doit? 


For no government can have a right to obedi- 
ence from a people who have not freely con- 
sented to it ; which they can never be supposed 
to do, till either they are put in a full state of 
liberty to chuse their government and governors, 
or at least till they have such standing laws, to 
which they have by themselves or their repre- 
sentatives given their free consent, and also till 
they are allowed their due property, which is 
so to be proprietors of what they have, that no 
body can take away any part of it without their 
own consent, without which, men under any 
government are not in the state of freemen, but 
are direct slaves under the force of war. 

§. 193. But granting that the conqueror in a 
just war has a right to the estates, as well as 
power over the persons, of the conquered ; 
which, it is plain, he hath not: nothing of 
absolute power will follow from hence, in the 
continuance of the government ; because the 
descendants of these being all freemen, if he 
grants them estates and possessions to inhabit 
his country, (without which it would be worth 
nothing) whatsoever he grants them, they have, 
so far as it is granted, property in. The nature 
whereof is, that without a man's oivn consent, it 
cannot be taken from him. 

§. 194. Their persons are free by a native 
right, and their properties, be they more or less, 
arc their own, and at their own dispose, and not 
at his ; or else it is no property. Supposing 
the conqueror gives to one man a thousand 


acres, to him and his heirs for ever ; to another 
he lets a thousand acres for his life, under the 
rent of 50/. or 500/. per ann. has not the one of 
these a right to his thousand acres for ever, and 
the other, during his life, paying the said rent ? 
and hath not the tenant for life a property in 
all that he gets over and above his rent, by 
his labour and industry during the said term, 
supposing it be double the rent? Can any one 
say, the king, or conqueror, after his grant, 
may by his power of conqueror take away all, 
or part of the land from the heirs of one, or 
from the other during his life, he paying the 
rent? or can he take away from either the 
goods or money they have got upon the said 
land, at his pleasure? If he can, then all free 
and voluntary contracts cease, and are void 
in the world ; there needs nothing to dissolve 
them at any time, but power enough : and all 
the grants and promises of men in power are 
but mockery and collusion : for can there be 
any thing more ridiculous than to say, I give 
you and yours this for ever, and that in the 
surest and most solemn way of conveyance 
can be devised ; and yet it is to be understood, 
that I have a right, if 1 please, to take it away 
from you again to-morrow? 

§. 195. I will not dispute now whether princes 
are exempt from the laws of their country; 
but this I am sure, they owe subjection to the 
laws of God and nature. No body, no power, 
can exempt lhem from the obligations of that 


eternal law. Those are so great, and so strong, 
in the case of promises, that oranipotehcy it- 
self can be tied by them. Grants, promises, 
and oaths, are bonds that hold the Almighty: 
whatever some flatterers say to princes of the 
world, who altogether, with all their people 
joined to them, are, in comparison of the great 
God, but as drop of the bucket, or a dust on 
the balance, inconsiderable, nothing! 

§. 190. The short of the case in conquest is 
this : the conqueror, if he have a just cause, 
has a despotical right over the persons of all, 
that actually aided, and concurred in the war 
against him, and a right to make up his damage 
and cost out of their labour and estates, so he 
injure not the right of any other. Over the 
rest of the people, if there were any that con- 
sented not to the war, and over the children of 
the captives themselves, or the possessions of 
either, he has no power ; and so can have, by 
virtue of conquest, no lawful title himself to do- 
minion over them, or derive it to his posterity ; 
but is an aggressor, if he attempts upon their 
properties, and thereby puts himself in a state 
of war against them, and has no better a right 
of principality, he, nor any of his successors, 
than Hingar, or Hubba, the Danes, had here 
in England; or Spartacus, had he conquered 
Italy, would have had ; which is to have their 
yoke cast off, as soon as God shall give those 
under their subjection courage and opportunity 
(o do it. Thus, notwithstanding whatever title 


the kings of Assyria had over Judah by the 
sword, God assisted Hezekiah to throw off 
the dominion of that conquering empire. And 
the Lord was with Hezekiah, and he prospered ; 
zvherefore he went forth, and he rebelled against 
the king of Assyria, and served him not, 2 Kings 
xviii. 7. Whence it is plain, that shaking off 
a power, which force, and not right, hath set 
over any one, though it hath the name of 
rebellion, yet is no offence before God, but is 
that which he allows and countenances, though 
even promises and covenants, when obtained by 
force, have intervened : for it is very probable, 
to any one that reads the story of Ahaz and 
Hezekiah attentively, that the Assyrians sub- 
dued Ahaz, and deposed him, and made He- 
zekiah king in his father's life-time ; and that 
Haekiah by agreement had done him homage, 
and paid him tribute all this time. 



\. 197. As conquest may be called a foreign 
usurpation, so usurpation is a kind of domestic 
conquest, with this difference, that an usurper 
can never have right on his side, it being no 
usurpation, but where one is got into the pos- 
session oj what another has a right to. This, 
so far as it is usurpation, is a change only of 
persons, but not of the forms and rules of the 


government : for if the usurper extend his powei 
beyond what of right belonged to the lawful 
princes, or governors of the commonwealth, it 
is tyranny added to usurpation. 

§. 198. In all lawful governments, the desig- 
nation of the persons, who are to bear rule, is 
as natural and necessary a part as the form of 
the government itself, and is that which had its 
establishment originally from the people; the 
anarchy being much alike, to have no form of 
government at all ; or to agree, that it shall be 
monarchical, but to appoint no way to design 
the person that shall have the power, and be 
the monarch. Hence all commonwealths, with 
the form of government established, have rules 
also of appointing those who are to have any 
share in the public authority, and settled me- 
thods of conveying the right to them : for the 
anarchy is much alike, to have no form of 
government at all : or to agree that it shall be 
monarchical, but to appoint no way to know 
or design the person that shall have the power, 
and be the monarch. Whoever gets into the 
exercise of any part of the power, by other 
ways than what the laws of the community 
have prescribed, hath no right to be obeyed, 
though the form of the commonwealth be still 
preserved ; since he is not the person the 
laws have appointed, and consequently not the 
person the people have consented to. Nor can 
such an usurper, or any deriving from him, 
ever have a title, till the people arc both at 


liberty to consent, and have actually consented 
to allow, and confirm in him the power he hath 
till then usurped. 



§. 199. As usurpation is the exercise of 
power, which another hath a right to ; so tyranny 
is the exdrcise of power beyond right, which no 
body can have a right to. And this is making 
use of the power any one has in his hands, not 
for the good of those who are under it, but for 
his own private separate advantage. When the 
governor, however intitled, makes not the law, 
but his will the rule ; and his commands and 
actions are not directed to the preservation of 
the properties of his people, but the satisfaction 
of his own ambition, revenge, covetousness, or 
any other irregular passion. 

§. 200. If one can doubt this to be truth, or 
reason, because it comes from the obscure hand 
of a subject, I hope the authority of a king will 
make it pass with him. King James the first 
in his speech to the parliament, 1603, tells 
them thus, I will ever prefer the weal of the 
public, and of the whole commonwealth, in 
making of good laws and constitutions, to any 
particular and private ends oj mine; thinking 
ever the wealth and weal of the commonwealth to 
be my greatest weal and worldly felicity; a point 


wherein a lawful kino- doth directly differ from 
a tyrant : for I do acknowledge, that the special 
and greatest point of difference that is between 
a rightful king and an usurping tyrant, is this, 
that whereas the proud and ambitious tyrant 
doth think his kindgom and people are only 
ordained for satisfaction of his desires and un- 
reasonable appetites, the righteous and just Icing 
doth by the contrary acknowledge himself to be 
ordained for the prociuing of the wealth and 
property of his people. And again, in his speech 
to the parliament, 1009, he hath these words, 
The king binds himself by a double oath, to the 
observation of the fundamental laws of his king- 
dom ; tacitly, as by being a king, and so bound 
to protect as well the people, as the laws of his 
kingdom ; and expressly, by his oath at his coro- 
nation ; so as every just king, in a settled king- 
dom, is bound to observe that paction to his 
people, by his laws, in framing his government 
agreeable thereunto, according to that paction 
which God made with Noah after the deluge. 
Hereafter, seed-time and harvest, and cold and 
heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, 
shall not cease while the earth remaineth. And 
therefore a king governing in a settled kingdom, 
leaves to be a king, and degenerates into a tyrant, 
as soon as he leaves off to rule according to his 
laws. And a little after, Therefore all kings 
that are not tyrants, or perjured, will be glad to 
bound themselves within the limits of their laws; 
and they- that persuade them the contrary, arc 


vipers, and pests both against them and the 
commonwealth. Thus that learned king, who 
well understood the notion of things, makes 
the difference betwixt a king and a tyrant to 
consist only in this, that one makes the laws 
the bounds of his power, and the good of the 
public, the end of his government; the other 
makes all give way to his own will and appetite. 

§. 201. It is a mistake, to think this fault is 
proper only to monarchies : other forms of 
government are liable to it, as well as that : for 
wherever the power, that is put in any hands 
for the government of the people, and the 
preservation of their properties, is applied to 
other ends, and made use of to impoverish, 
harass, or subdue them to the arbitrary and 
irregular commands of those that have it; there 
it presently becomes tyranny, whether those 
that thus use it are one or many, Thus we 
read of the thirty tyrants at Athens, as well as 
one at Syracuse; and the intolerable dominion 
of the Decemviri at Rome was nothing better. 

§. 202. Wherever law ends, tyranny begins, 
if the law be transgressed to another's harm ; 
and him whosoever in authority exceeds the 
power given him by the law, and makes use of 
the force he has under his command, to com- 
pass that upon the subject, which the law 
allows not, ceases in that to be a magistrate ; 
and, acting without authority, may be opposed, 
as any other man, who by force invades the 
right of another. This is acknowledged in 


subordinate magistrates. He that hath autho- 
rity to seize my person in the street, may he 
opposed as a thief and a robber, if he endeavours 
to break into my house to execute a writ, 
notwithstanding that I know he has such a 
warrant, and such a legal authority, as will 
impower him to arrest me abroad. And why 
this should not hold in the highest, as well as 
in the most inferior magistrate, I would gladly 
be informed. Is it reasonable, that the eldest 
brother, because he has the greatest part of his 
father's estate, should thereby have a right to 
take away any of his younger brothers portions ? 
or that a rich man, who possessed a whole 
country, should from thence have a right to 
seize, when he pleased, the cottage and garden 
of his poor neighbour? The being rightfully 
possessed of great power and riches, exceed- 
ingly beyond the greatest part of the sons of 
Adam, is so far from being an excuse, much less 
a reason, for rapine and oppression, which the 
endamaging another without authority is, that 
it is a great aggravation of it: for the exceeding 
the bounds of authority is no more a right in a 
great, than in a petty officer; no more justifiable 
in a king than a constable ; but it is so much the 
worse in him, in that he has more trust put in 
him, has already a much greater share than the 
rest of his brethren, and is supposed, from the 
advantages of his education, employment, and 
counsellors, to be more knowing in the mea- 
sures of right and wrong. 


§. 203. May the commands then of a prince 
be opposed ? may he be resisted as often as any 
one shall find himself aggrieved, and but imagine 
he has not right done him ? This will unhinge 
and overturn all polities, and, instead of govern- 
ment and order, leave nothing but anarchy and 

§. 204. To this I answer, that force is to be 
opposed to nothing, but to unjust and unlawful 
force; whoever makes any opposition in any 
other case, draws on himself a just condem- 
nation both from God and man ; and so no 
danger or confusion will follow, as is often 
suggested, for, 

§. 205. First, As, in some countries, the 
person of the prince by the law is sacred ; and 
so, whatever he commands or does, his person 
is still free from all question or violence, not 
liable to force, or any judicial censure or con- 
demnation. But yet opposition may be made 
to the illegal acts of any inferior officer, or 
other commissioned by him ; unless he will, by 
actually putting himself into a state of war with 
his people, dissolve the government, and leave 
them to that defence which belongs to every 
one in the state of nature : for of such things 
who can tell what the end will be? and a 
neighbour kingdom has shewed the world an 
odd example. In all other cases the sacredness 
of the person exempts him from all inconveniences , 
whereby he is secure, whilst the government 
stands, from all violence and harm, whatso- 


over ; than which there cannot be a wiser con- 
stitution : for the harm he can do in his own 
person not being likely to happen often, nor to 
extend itself far; nor being able by his single 
strength to subvert the laws, nor oppress the 
body of the people, should any prince have so 
much weakness, and ill-nature, as to be willing 
to do it, the inconveniency of some partieular 
mischiefs, that may happen sometimes, when 
a heady prince comes to the throne, are well 
recompensed by the peace of the public, and 
security of the government, in the person of 
the chief magistrate, thus set out of the reach 
of danger : it being safer for the body, that some 
few private men should be sometimes in danger 
to suffer, than that the head of the republic 
should be easily, and upon slight occasions, 

§. 206. Secondly, But this privilege, belonging- 
only to the king's person, hinders not, but they 
may be questioned, opposed, and resisted, who 
use unjust force, though they pretend a com- 
mission from him, which the law authorizes 
not ; as is plain in the case of him that has the 
king's writ to arrest a man, which is a full com- 
mission from the king ; and yet he that lias it 
cannot break open a man's house to do it, nor 
execute this command of the king upon certain 
days, nor in certain places, though this com- 
mission have no such exception in it ; but they 
are the limitations of the law, which if any one 
transgress, the kings commission excuses him 


not: for the king's authority being given him 
only by the law, he cannot impower any one to 
act against the law, or justify him, by his com- 
mission, in so doing ; the commission, or com- 
mand of any magistrate, ivhere he has no 
authority, being as void and insignificant, as 
that of any private man ; the difference between 
the one and the other being that the magistrate 
has some authority so far, and to such ends, 
and the private man has none at all : for it is 
not the commission, but the authority, that gives 
the right of acting ; and against the laivs there 
can be no authority. But, notwithstanding 
such resistance, the king's person and authority 
are still both secured, and so no danger to 
governor or government. 

§. 207. Thirdly, Supposing a government 
wherein the person of the chief magistrate is 
not thus sacred ; yet this doctrine of the law- 
fulness of resisting all unlawful exercises of 
his power, ivill not upon every slight occasion 
indanger him, or imbroil the government: for 
where the injured party may be relieved, and 
his damages repaired by appeal to the law, 
there can be no pretence for force, which is 
only to be used where a man is intercepted 
from appealiug to the law : for nothing is to 
be accounted hostile force, but where it leaves 
not the remedy of such an appeal; and it is 
such force alone, that puts him that uses it into 
a state of war, and makes it lawful to resist 
him. A man with a sword in his hand de- 


mands my purse in the highway, when perhaps 
I have not twelve pence in my pocket : this 
man I may lawfully kill. To another I deliver 
1001. to hold only whilst I alight, which he 
refuses to restore me, when I am got up again, 
but draws his sword to defend the possession 
of it by force, if I endeavour to retake it. The 
mischief this man does me is a hundred, or 
possibly a thousand times more than the other 
perhaps intended me (whom I killed before he 
really did me any ;) and yet 1 might lawfully 
kill the one, and cannot so much as hurt the 
other lawfully. The reason whereof is plain ; 
because the one using force, which threatened 
my life, I could not have time to appeal to the 
law to secure it: and when it was gone, it was 
too late to appeal. The law could not restore 
life to my dead carcass: the loss was irrepa- 
rable ; which to prevent, the law of nature gave 
me a right to destroy him, who had put himself 
into a state of war with me, and threatened my 
destruction. But in the other case, my life not 
being in danger, I may have the benefit of 
appealing to the law, and have reparation for my 
1001. that way. 

§. 208. Fourthly, But if the unlawful acts 
done by the magistrate be maintained (by the 
power he has got,) and the remedy which is 
due by law be by the same power obstructed ; 
yet the right of resisting, even in such manifest 
acts of tyranny, will not suddenly, or on slight 
oceasions, disturb the government : for if it reach 


no farther than some private men's cases, 
though they have a right to defend themselves, 
and to recover by force what by unlawful force 
is taken from them; yet the right to do so will 
not easily engage them in a contest, wherein 
they are sure to perish ; it being as impossible 
for one, or a few oppressed men to disturb the 
government, where the body of the people do 
not think themselves concerned in it, as for a 
raving madman, or heady malcontent to overturn 
a well-settled state ; the people being as little 
apt to follow the one, as the other. 

§. 209. But if either these illegal acts have 
extended to the majority of the people ; or if 
the mischief and oppression has lighted only 
on some few, but in such cases, as the prece- 
dent, and consequences seem to threaten all ; 
and they are persuaded in their cosciences, 
that their laws, and with them their estates, 
liberties, and lives are in danger, and perhaps 
their religion too ; how they will be hindered 
from resisting illegal force, used against them, 
I cannot tell. This is an inconvenience, I 
confess, that attends all governments whatso- 
ever, when the governors have brought it to 
this pass, to be generally suspected of their 
people ; the most dangerous state which they 
can possibly put themselves in ; wherein they 
are the less to be pitied, because it is so easy 
to be avoided ; it being as impossible for a 
governor, if he really means the good of his 
people, aud the preservation of them, and their 


laws together, not to make them see and 
feel it, as it is for the father of a family, not to 
let his children see he loves, and takes care of 

§. 210. But if all the world shall observe 
pretences of one kind, and actions of another; 
arts used to elude the law, and the trust of 
prerogative (which is an arbitrary power in 
some things left m the prince's hand to do 
good, not harm to the people) employed con- 
trary to the end for which it was given : if the 
people shall find the ministers and subordinate 
magistrates chosen suitable to such ends, and 
favoured, or laid by, proportionably as they 
promote or oppose them : if they see several 
experiments made of arbitrary power, and that 
religion underhand favoured, (though publicly 
proclaimed against) which is readiest to intro- 
duce it; and the operators in it supported, as 
much as may be ; and when that cannot be 
done, yet approved still, and liked the better: 
If a long train of actions shew the councils 
all tending that way ; how can a man any 
more hinder himself from being persuaded in 
his own mind, which way things are going ; or 
from casting about how to save himself, than 
he could from believing the captain of the ship 
he was in was carrying him, and the rest of his 
company to Algiers, when he found him al- 
ways steering that course, though cross winds, 
leaks in his ship, and want of men and provi- 
sions did often force him to turn his course 

2 B 


another way for some time, which he steadily 
returned to again, as soon as the wind, wea- 
ther, and other circumstances would let him? 


Of the Dissolution of Government. 

§. 211. He that will with any clearness speak 
of the dissolution of government, ought in the 
first place to distinguish between the dissolution 
of the society and the dissolution of the govern- 
ment. That which makes the community, and 
brings men out of the loose state of nature, 
into one politic society, is the agreement which 
every one has with the rest to incorporate, and 
act as one body, and so be one distinct com- 
monwealth. The usual, and almost only way 
whereby this union is dissolved, is the inroad 
of foreign force making a conquest upon them : 
for in that case, (not being able to maintain 
and support themselves, as one intire and in- 
dependent body) the union belonging to that 
body which consisted therein, must necessarily 
cease, and so every one return to the state he 
was in before, with a liberty to shift for him- 
self, and provide for his own safety, as he 
thinks fit, in some other society. Whenever 
the society is dissolved, it is certain the govern- 
ment of that society cannot remain. Thus 
conquerors swords often cut up governments 
by the roots, and mangle societies to pieces, 


.separating the subdued or scattered multitude 
from the protection of, and dependence on, that 
society, which ought to have preserved them 
from violence. The world is too well instructed 
in, and too forward to allow of, this way of 
dissolving of governments, to need any more 
to be said of it; and there wants not much 
argument to prove, that where the society is 
dissolved, the government cannot remain ; that 
being as impossible, as for the frame of an 
house to subsist when the materials of it are 
scattered and dissipated by a whirlwind, or 
jumbled into a confused heap by an earth- 

§. 212. Besides this overturning from with- 
out, governments are dissolved from within, 

First, When the legislative is altered. Civil 
society being a state of peace, amongst those 
who are of it, from whom the state of war is 
excluded by the umpirage which they have 
provided in their legislative, for the ending all 
differences that may arise amongst any of 
them, it is in their legislative, that the members 
of a commonwealth are united, and combined 
together into one coherent living body. This 
is the soul that gives form, life, and unity, to 
the commonwealth: from hence the several 
members have their mutual influence, sympathy 
and connexion : and therefore, when the legis- 
lative is broken, or dissolved, dissolution and 
death follows : for the essence and unity of the 
society consisting in having one will, the legis- 


lative, when once established by the majority, 
has the declaring, and as it were keeping of 
that will. The constitution of the legislative is 
the first and fundamental act of society, where- 
by provision is made for the continuation of 
their union, under the direction of persons, and 
bonds of laws, made by persons authorized 
thereunto, by the consent and appointment 
of the people, without which no one man, or 
number of men, amongst them, can have au- 
thority of making laws that shall be binding 
to the rest. When any one or more, shall 
take upon them to make laws, whom the 
people have not appointed so to do, they make 
laws without authority, which the people are 
not therefore bound to obey ; by which means 
they come again to be out of subjection, and 
may constitute to themselves a new legislative, 
as they think best, being in full liberty to resist 
the force of those, who without authority 
would impose any thing upon them. Every 
one is at the disposure of his own will, when 
those who had, by the delegation of the society, 
the declaring of the public will, are excluded 
from it, and others usurp the place, who have 
no such authority or delegation. 

§. 213. This being usually brought about by 
such in the commonwealth who misuse the 
power they have ; it is hard to consider it 
aright, and know at whose door to lay it, 
without knowing the form of government in 
which it happens. Let us. suppose then the 


legislative placed in the concurrence of three 
distinct persons. 

1. A single hereditary person, having the 
constant, supreme, executive power, and with 
it the power of convoking- and dissolving the 
other two within certain periods of time. 

2. An assembly of hereditary nobility. 

3. An assembly of representatives chosen, 
pro tempore, by the people. Such a form of 
government supposed, it is evident, 

§. 214. First, That when such a single per- 
son, or prince, sets up his own arbitrary will 
in place of the laws, which are the will of the 
society, declared by the legislative, then the 
legislative is changed: for that being in effect 
the legislative, whose rules and laws are put 
in execution, and required to be obeyed ; when 
other laws are set up, and other rules pre- 
tended, and inforced, than what the legislative 
constituted by the society have enacted, it is 
plain that the legislative is changed. Whoever 
introduces new laws, not being thereunto au- 
thorized by the fundamental appointment of 
the society, or subverts the old, disowns and 
overturns the power by which they were made, 
and so sets up a new legislative. 

§. 215. Secondly, When the prince hinders 
the legislative from assembling in its due time, 
or from acting freely, pursuant to those ends 
for which it was constituted, the legislative is 
altered: for it is not a certain number of men, 
no, nor their meeting, unless they have also 


freedom of debating, and leisure of perfecting, 
what is for the good of the society, wherein 
the legislative consists : when these are taken 
away or altered, so as to deprive the society of 
the due exercise of their power, the legislative 
is truly altered ; for it is not names that consti- 
tute governments, but the use and exercise of 
those powers that were intended to accompany 
them ; so that he, who takes away the freedom, 
or hinders the acting of the legislative in its 
due seasons, in effect takes away the legislative, 
and puts an end to the government. 

§. 216. Thirdly, When, by the arbitrary 
power of the prince, the electors, or ways of 
election are altered, without the consent, and 
contrary to the common interest of the people, 
there also the legislative is altered: for, if others 
than those whom the society hath authorized 
thereunto, do chuse, or in another way than 
what the society hath prescribed, those chosen 
are not the legislatived appointed by the 

§. 217. Fourthly, The delivery also of the 
people into subjection of a foreign power, either 
by the prince, or by the legislative, is certainly 
a change of the legislative, and so a dissolution 
of the government : for the end why people en- 
tered into society being to be preserved one 
intire, free, independent society, to be governed 
by its own laws ; this is lost, whenever they are 
given up into the power of another. 

§. 218. Why, in such a constitution as this, 


the dissolution of the government in these cases 
is to be imputed to the prince, is evident; be- 
cause he having - the force, treasure and oiiices 
of the state to employ, and often persuading 
himself, or being flattered by others, that as 
supreme magistrate he is uncapable of con- 
troul ; he alone is in a condition to make great 
advances toward such changes, under pretence 
of lawful authority, and has it in his hands 
to terrify or suppress opposers, as factious, 
seditious, and enemies to the government: 
whereas no other part of the legislative, or 
people, is capable by themselves to attempt 
any alteration of the legislative, without open 
and visible rebellion, apt enough to be taken 
notice of, which, when it prevails, produces 
effects very little different from foreign con- 
quest. Besides, the prince in such a form of 
government, having the power of dissolving the 
other parts of the legislative, and thereby ren- 
dering them private persons, they can never in 
opposition to him, or without his concurrence, 
alter the legislative by a law, his consent being 
necessary to give any of their decrees that 
sanction. But yet, so far as the other parts 
of the legislative any way contribute to any 
attempt upon the government, and do either 
promote, or not, what lies in them, hinder such 
designs, they are guilty, and partake in this, 
which is certainly the greatest crime men can 
be guilty of one towards another. 

§. 2 If) There is one way more whereby 


such a government may be dissolved, and that 
is, when he who has the supreme executive 
power neglects and abandons that charge, so 
that the laws already made can no longer be 
put in execution. This is demonstratively to 
reduce all to anarchy, and so effectually to 
dissolve the government: for laws not being 
made for themselves, but to be, by their ex- 
ecution, the bonds of the society, to keep 
every part of the body politic in its due 
place and function ; when that totally ceases, 
the government visibly ceases, and the people 
become a confused multitude, without order 
or connexion. Where there is no longer the 
administration of justice, for the securing of 
men's rights, nor any remaining power within 
the community to direct the force, or provide 
for the necessities of the public, there certainly 
is no government left. Where the laws cannot 
be executed, it is all one as if there were no 
laws ; and a government without laws is, I 
suppose, a mystery in politics, unconceivable 
to human capacity, and inconsistent with hu- 
man society. 

§. 220. In these and the like cases, when the 
government is dissolved, the people are at 
liberty to provide for themselves, by erecting a 
new legislative, differing from the other, by the 
change of persons, or form, or both, as they shall 
find it most for their safety and good : for the 
society can never, by the fault of another, lose 
the native and original right it has to preserve 


itself, which can only be done by a settled 
legislative, and a fair and impartial execution 
of the laws made by it. But the state of man- 
kind is not so miserable that they are not 
capable of using this remedy, till it be too late 
to look for any. To tell people they may 
provide for themselves, by erecting a new legis- 
lative, when by oppression, artifice, or being 
delivered over to a foreign power, their old 
one is gone, is only to tell them, they may 
expect relief when it is too late, and the evil is 
past cure. This is in effect no more than to 
bid them first be slaves, and then to take care 
of their liberty ; and when their chains are on, 
tell them, they may act like freemen. This, if 
barely so, is rather mockery than relief; and 
men can never be secure from tyranny, if there 
be no means to escape it till they are perfectly 
under it : and therefore it is that they have not 
only a right to get out of it, but to prevent it. 

§. 221. There is therefore, secondly, another 
way whereby governments are dissolved, and 
that is, when the legislative, or the prince, 
either of them, act contrary to their trust. 

First, The legislative acts against the trust 
reposed in them, when they endeavour to 
invade the property of the subject, and to make 
themselves, or any part of the community, 
masters, or arbitrary disposers of the lives, 
liberties, or fortunes of the people. 

§. 2*22. The reason why men enter into 
society, is the preservation of their property; 


and the end why they ehuse and authorize a 
legislative, is, that there may be laws made, 
and rules set, as guards and fences to the 
properties of all the members of the society, to 
limit the power, and moderate the dominion of 
every part and member of the society : for since 
it can never be supposed to be the will of the 
society, that the legislative should have a power 
to destroy that which every one designs to 
secure, by entering into society, and for which 
the people submitted themselves to legislators 
of their own making ; whenever the legislators 
endeavour to takeaway, and destroy the property 
of the people, or to reduce them to slavery 
under arbitrary power, they put themselves 
into a state of war with the people, who are 
thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, 
and are left to the common refuge, which God 
hath provided for all men, against force and 
violence. Whensoever therefore the legislative 
shall transgress this fundamental rule of society ; 
and either by ambition, fear, folly or corrup- 
tion, endeavour to grasp themselves, or put into 
the hands of any other, an absolute power over 
the lives, liberties, and estates of the people ; 
by this breach of trust they forfeit the power 
the people had put into their hands for quite 
contrary ends, and it devolves to the people, 
who have a right to resume their original liberty, 
and, by the establishment of a new legislative, 
(such as they shall think fit) provide for their 
own safety and security, which is the end for 


which they are in society. What I have said 
here, concerning the legislative in general, 
holds true also concerning the supreme execu- 
tor, who having a double trust put in him, both 
to have a part in the legislative, and the 
supreme execution of the law, acts against 
both, when he goes about to set up his own 
arbitrary will as the law of the society.' He 
acts also contrary to his trust, when he either 
employs the force, treasure, and offices of the 
society, to corrupt the representatives, and gain 
them to his purposes ; or openly pre-engages 
the electors, and prescribes to their choice, 
such, whom he has by solicitations, threats, 
promises, or otherwise, won to his designs ; 
and employs them to bring in such, who have 
promised beforehand what to vote, and what 
to enact. Thus to regulate candidates and 
electors, and new-model the ways of election, 
what is it but to cut up the government by the 
roots, and poison the very fountain of public 
security? for the people having reserved to 
themselves the choice of their representatives, 
as the fence to their properties, could do it for 
no other end, but that they might always be 
freely chosen, and so chosen, freely act, and 
advise, as the necessity of the common-wealth, 
and the public good should upon examination, 
and mature debate, be judged to require. This, 
those who give their votes before they hear the 
debate, and have weighed the reasons on all 
sides, are not capable of doing. To prepare 


such an assembly as this, and endeavour to 
set up the declared abettors of his own will, 
for the true representatives of the people, and 
the law-makers of the society, is certainly as 
great a breach of trust, and as perfect a decla- 
ration of a design to subvert the government, 
as is possible to be met with. To which, if one 
shall add rewards and punishments visibly 
employed to the same end, and all the arts of 
perverted law made use of to take off and 
destroy all that stand in the way of such a 
design, and will not comply and consent to 
betray the liberties of their country, it will be 
past doubt what is doing. What power they 
ought to have in the society, who thus employ 
it contrary to the trust went along with it in its 
first institution, is easy to determine ; and one 
cannot but see, that he, who has once attempted 
any such thing as this, cannot any longer be 

§. 223. To this perhaps it will be said, that 
the people being ignorant, and always discon- 
tented, to lay the foundation of government in 
the unsteady opinion and uncertain humour of 
the people, is to expose it to certain ruin : and 
710 government rcillbe able long to subsist, if the 
people may set up a new legislative, whenever 
they take offence at the old one. To this I 
answer, Quite the contrary. People are not 
so easily got out of their old forms, as some are 
apt to suggest. They are hardly to be prevailed 
with to amend the acknowledged faults in the 


frame they have been accustomed to. And if 
there be any original defects, or adventitious 
ones introduced by time, or corruption ; it is 
not an easy thing- to be changed, even when 
all the world sees there is an opportunity for it. 
This slowness and aversion in the people to 
quit their old constitutions, has, in the many 
revolutions which have been seen in this king- 
dom, in this and former ages, still kept us to, 
or, after some interval of fruitless attempts, still 
brought us back again to our old legislative of 
king, lords and commons: and whatever 
provocations have made the crown be taken 
from some of our princes heads, they never 
carried the people so far as to place it in 
another line. 

§. 224. But it will be said, this hypothesis 
lays a ferment for frequent rebellion. To which 
I answer, 

First, No more than any other hypothesis : 
for when the people are made miserable, and 
find themselves exposed to the ill usage of arbi- 
trary power, cry up their governors, as much as 
you will, for sOns of Jupiter ; let them be 
sacred and divine, descended, or authorized 
from heaven : give them out for whom or what 
you please, the same will happen. The people 
generally ill treated, and contrary to right, will 
be ready upon any occasion to ease themselves 
of a burden that sits heavy upon them. They 
will wish, and seek for the opportunity, which 
in the change, weakness and accidents of 


human affairs, seldom delays long to offer 
itself. He must have lived but a little while in 
the world, who has not seen examples of this 
in his time : and he must have read very little, 
who cannot produce examples of it in all sorts 
of governments in the world. 

§. 225. Secondly, I answer, such revolutions 
happen not upon every little mismanagement in 
public affairs. Great mistakes in the ruling 
part, many wrong and inconvenient laws, and 
all the slips of human frailty, will be borne by 
the people without mutiny or murmur. But if a 
long train of abuses, prevarications and artifices, 
all tending the same way, make the design 
visible to the people, and they cannot but feel 
what they lie under, and see whither they are 
going ; it is not to be wondered at, that they 
should then rouze themselves, and endeavour 
to put the rule into such hands which may 
secure to them the ends for which government 
was at first erected ; and without which, ancient 
names, and specious forms, are so far from 
being better, that they are much worse, than the 
state of nature, or pure anarchy ; the incon- 
veniencies being all as great and as near, but 
the remedy farther off and more difficult. 

§. 226. Thirdly, I answer, that this doctrine 
of a power in the people of providing for their 
safety a-new, by a new legislative, when their 
legislators have acted contrary to their trust, 
by invading their property, is the best fence 
against rebellion, and the probablest means to 


hinder it : for rebellion being an opposition, not 
to persons, but authority, which is founded 
only in the constitutions and laws of the 
government ; those, whoever they be, who by 
force break through, and by force justify their 
violation of them, are truly and properly rebels: 
for when men, by entering into society and 
civil government, have excluded force, and 
introduced laws for the preservation of property, 
peace, and unity amongst themselves, those who 
set up force again in opposition to the laws, do 
rebellare, that is, bring back again the state of 
war, and are properly rebels : which they who 
are in power, (by the pretence they have to 
authority, the temptation of force they have in 
their hands, and the flattery of those about 
them) being likeliest to do ; the properest way 
to prevent the evil, is to shew them the danger 
and injustice of it, who are under the greatest 
temptation to run into it. 

§. 227. In both the forementioned cases, 
when either the legislative is changed, or the 
legislators act contrary to the end for which 
they were constituted ; those who are guilty 
are guilty of rebellion: for if any one by force 
takes away the established legislative of any 
society, and the laws by them made, pursuant 
to their trust, he thereby takes away the um- 
pirage, which every one had consented to, for 
a peaceable decision of all their controversies, 
and a bar to the state of war amongst them. 
They, who remove, or change, the legislative, 


take away this decisive power, which no body 
can have, but by the appointment and consent 
of the people ; and so destroying the authority 
which the people did, and nobody else can set 
up, and introducing a power which the people 
hath not authorized, they actually introduce 
a state of ivar, which is that of force without 
authority: and thus, by removing the legisla- 
tive established by the society, (in whose 
decisions the people acquiesced and united, as 
to that of their own will) they untie the knot, 
and expose the jteople a-new to the state of ivar. 
And if those, who by force take away the legis- 
lative, are rebels, the legislators themselves, as 
has been shewn, can be no less esteemed so; 
when they, who were set up for the protection, 
and preservation of the people, their liberties 
and properties, shall by force invade and en- 
deavour to take them away ; and so they 
putting themselves into a state of war with 
those who made them the protectors and guar- 
dians of their peace, are properly, and with the 
greatest aggravation, rebellantes, rebels. 

§. 228. But if they, who say it lays a foun- 
dation for rebellion,meim that it may occasion 
civil wars, or intestine broils, to tell the people 
they are absolved from obedience when illegal 
attempts are made upon their liberties or pro- 
perties, and may oppose the unlawful violence 
of those who were their magistrates, when they 
invade their properties contrary to the trust 
put in them ; and that therefore this doctrine 


is not to be allowed, being so destructive to 
the peace of the world : they may as well say, 
upon the same ground, that honest men may 
not oppose robbers or pirates, because this 
may occasion disorder or bloodshed. If any 
mischief come in such cases, it is not to be 
charged upon him who defends his own right, 
but on him that invades his neighbours. If the 
innocent honest man must quietly quit all he 
has, for peace sake, to him who will lay violent 
hands upon it, 1 desire it may be considered, 
what a kind of peace there will be in the 
world, which consists only in violence and 
rapine; and which is to be maintained only for 
the benefit of robbers and oppressors. Who 
would not think it an admirable peace betwixt 
the mighty and the mean, when the lamb, 
without resistance, yielded his throat to be 
torn by the imperious wolf ? Polyphemus 's den 
gives us a perfect pattern of such a peace, 
and such a government, wherein Ulysses and 
his companions had nothing to do, but quietly 
to suffer themselves to be devoured. And no 
doubt Ulysses, who was a prudent man, prea- 
ched up passive obedience, and exhorted them 
to a quiet submission, by representing to them 
of what concernment peace was to mankind ; 
and by shewing the inconveniencies might hap- 
pen, if they should offer to resist Polyphemus, 
who had now the power over them. 

§. 229. The end of government is the good 
of mankind ; and which is best for mankind, 

2 c 


that the people should be always exposed to 
the boundless will of tyranny, or that the 
rulers should be sometimes liable to be oppo- 
sed, when they grow exorbitant in the use of 
their power, and employ it for the destruction, 
and not the preservation of the properties of 
their people ? 

§. 230. Nor let any one say, that mischief 
can arise from hence, as often as it shall please 
a busy head, or turbulent spirit, to desire the 
alteration of the government. It is true, such 
men may stir, whenever they please ; but it 
will be only to their own just ruin and perdi- 
tion : for till the mischief be grown general, 
and the ill designs of the rulers become visible, 
or their attempts sensible to the greater part, 
the people, who are more disposed to suffer than 
right themselves by resistance, are not apt to 
stir. The examples of particular injustice, or 
oppression of here and there an unfortunate 
man, moves them not. But if they universally 
have a persuasion, grounded upon manifest 
evidence, that designs are carrying on against 
their liberties, and the general course and 
tendency of things cannot but give them 
strong suspicions of the evil intention of their 
governors, who is to be blamed for it? Who 
can help it, if they, who might avoid it, bring 
themselves into tins suspicion ? Are the people 
to be blamed, if they have the sense of rational 
creatures, and can think of things no otherwise 
than as they find and feel them ? And is it not 


rather their fi mil, who put things into such a 
posture, that they would not have them thought 
to be as they are? I grant, that the pride, am- 
bition, and turbulency of private men have 
sometimes caused great disorders in common- 
wealths, and factions have been fatal to states 
and kingdoms. But whether the mischief hath 
oftener begun in the people's wantonness, and a 
desire to cast off the lawful authority of their 
rulers, or in the rulers insolence, and endeavours 
to get and exercise an arbitrary power over 
their people ; whether oppression or disobedi- 
ence, gave the first rise to the disorder, I leave 
it to impartial history to determine. This I 
am sure, whoever, either ruler or subject, by 
force goes about to invade the rights of either 
prince or people, and lays the foundation for 
overturning the constitution and frame of any 
just government, is highly guilty of the greatest 
crime, I think, a man is capable of, being to 
answer for all those mischiefs of blood, rapine, 
and desolation, which the breaking to pieces 
of governments bring on a country. And he 
who does it, is justly to be esteemed the com- 
mon enemy and pest of mankind, and is to be 
treated accordingly. 

§.231. That subjects or foreigners, attempt- 
ing by force on the properties of any people, 
may be resisted with force, is agreed on all 
hands. But that magistrates, doing the same 
thing, may be resisted, hath of late been de- 
nied : as if those who had the greatest privi- 
2 c 2 


leges and advantages by the law, had thereby 
a power to break those laws, by which alone 
they were set in a better place than their 
brethren : whereas their offence is thereby the 
greater, both as being ungrateful for the greater 
share they have by the law, and breaking also 
that trust, which is put into their hands by 
their brethren. 

§. 232. Whosoever uses force ivithout right, 
as every one does in society, who does it with- 
out law, puts himself into a state of war with 
those against whom he so uses it ; and in that 
state all former ties are cancelled, all other 
rights cease, and every one has a right to defend 
himself, and to resist the aggressor. This is so 
evident, that Barclay himself, that great asser- 
tor of the power and sacredness of kings, is 
forced to confess, That it is lawful for the 
people, in some cases, to resist their king ; and 
that too in a chapter, wherein he pretends to 
shew, that the divine law shuts up the people 
from all manner of rebellion. Whereby it is 
evident, even by his own doctrine, that, since 
they may in some cases, resist, all resisting of 
princes is not rebellion. His words are these. 
Quod siquis dicat, Ergone populus tyrannicce 
crudelitati Sf furori jugulum semper jweebebit ? 
Ergone multitudo civitates suas fame, ferro, 6f 
flamma vastari, seque, conjuges, <£■ liberos for- 
tunes ludibrio fy tyranni libidini exponi, inque 
omnia vilce pericula omnesque miserias Sf moles- 
lias a rege deduct patient ur ? Num illis quod 


omni animantiunt generi est a naturd tributum, 
denegari debet, ut sc. vim vi repellant, sesc<j ; ub 
injuria tueantur? Hide breviter responsum sit, 
Popalo universe* negari defensionem, quce juris 
naturalisest, neque ultionem qua prajler naturam 
est adversus regent concedi debere. Quaproptcr 
si rex non in singulares tantum pcrsonas aliquot 
privatum odium exerccat, sed corpus ctiam rei- 
publica, cujus ipse caput est, i. e. totum populum, 
vel insignent aliquant ejus partem iinmani fy in- 
toleranda, scevitid sen tyrannide divcxel; populo, 
quidem, hoc casu rcsislendi ac tuendi se ab injuria 
potestas competit, sed tuendi sc tantum, nan enim 
in principem invadendi: §• restituenda injuria 
illata, non recedendi a debitd revcrenliu propter 
accept am injur iam. Prcesentem denique impe- 
tum propulsandi non vim prateritam ulciscenti 
jus habet. Horum enim alterum a naturd est, 
ut vitam scilicet corpusque tueantur. Alterum 
verb contra naturam, ut inferior de superiori 
suppliciunt sumat. Quod itaque populus malum, 
antequam factum sit, impedire potest, ne fiat, id 
postquam factum est, in regent author em sceleris 
vindicare nott potest : populus igitur hoc amplius 
qudm privatus quispiam habet: quod huic, vel 
ipsis adversariis judicibus, excepto Suchanano, 
nullum nisi in patentia rented ium superest. Ciim 
ille si intolerabilis tyrannus est (modicum enim 
ferre omnino debet) resistere cum reverentid pos- 
sit. Barclay contra Monarchom. 1. Hi. c. 8, 


Ill English thus : 

§. 233. But if any one should ask, Must the 
people then ahvays lay themselves open to the 
cruelty and rage of tyranny ? 3Iust they see their 
cities pilaged, and laid in ashes, their ivives and 
children exposed to the tyrant's lust and fury, 
and themselves and families reduced by their 
king to ruin, and all the miseries of want and 
oppression, and yet sit still? 3hist men alone 
be debarred the common privilege of opposing 
force with force, which nature allows so freely 
to all other creatures for their preservation 
from injury ? I answer : Self-defence is a part 
of the law of nature ; nor can it be denied the 
community, even against the king himself: but 
to revenge themselves upon him, must by no 
means be allowed them : it being not agreeable 
to that law. Wherefore if the king shall sheiv 
an hatred, not only to some particular persons, 
but sets himself against the body of the common- 
wealth, whereof he is the head, and shall, with 
intolerable ill usage, cruelly tyrannize over the 
ii'hole, or a considerable part of the people, in 
this case the people have a right to resist and 
defend themselves from injury : but it must be 
ivith this caution, that they only defend them- 
selves, but do not attack their prince : they 7nay 
repair the damages received, but must not for 
any provocation exceed the bounds of due reve- 
rence and reaped. They may repulse the present 


attempt, but must not revenge past violences: 
for it is natural for us to defend life and limb, 
but that an inferior should punish a superior, is 
against nature. The mischief which is designed 
them, the people may prevent before it be done ; 
but when it is done, they must not revenge it on 
the king, though author of the villany. This 
therefore is the "privilege of the people in general, 
above ivhat any private person hath ; that par- 
ticular men are allowed by our adversaries them- 
selves (Buchanan only excepted) to have no 
other remedy but patience; but the body of the 
people may ivith respect resist intolerable tyrau- 
n V i for when it is but moderate, they ought to 
endure it. 

%. 234. Thus far that great advocate of mo- 
narchical power allows of resistence. 

§. 235. It is true, he has annexed two limi- 
tations to it, to no purpose : 

First, He says, it must be with reverence. 

Secondly, It must be without retribution, or 
punishment ; and the reason he gives is, because 
an inferior cannot punish a superior. 

First, How to resist force without striking 
again, or how to strike with reverence, will 
need some skill to make intelligible. He that 
shall oppose an assault only with a shield to 
receive the blows, or in any more respectful 
posture, without a sword in his hand, to abate 
the confidence and force of the assailant, will 
quickly be at an end of his resistance, and will 
find such a defence serve onlv to draw on 


himself the worse usage. This is as ridiculous 
a way of resisting, as Juvenal thought it of 
fighting ; ubi tu pulsus, ego vapulo tantum. And 
the success of the combat will be unavoidably 
the same he there describes it : 

— Libert as pauperis hcec est : 

Pulsatus rogat, <Sf pugnis concisus adorat, 

Ut liceat paucis cum dentibus inde reverti. 

This will always be the event of such an im- 
aginary resistance, where men may not strike 
again. He therefore who may resist must be 
allowed to strike. And then let our author, or 
any body else, join a knock on the head, or a 
cut on the face, with as much reverence and 
respect as he thinks fit. He that can reconcile 
blows and reverence, may, for aught I know, 
desire for his pains, a civil, respectful cudgeling 
wherever he can meet with it. 

Secondly, As to his second, An inferior 
cannot punish a superior ; that is true, generally 
speaking, whilst he is his superior. But to 
resist force with force, being the state of ivar 
that levels the jmrties, cancels all former rela- 
tion of reverence, respect, and superiority: and 
then the odds that remains, is, that he, who 
opposes the unjust aggressor, has this supe- 
riority over him, that he has a right, when he 
prevails, to punish the offender, both for the 
breach of the peace, and all the evils that 
followed upon it. Barclay therefore, in another 


place, more coherently to himself, denies it to 
be lawful to resist a king in any case. But he 
there assigns two cases, whereby a king may 
nn-king himself. His words are, 

Quid ergo, nulline casus iucidere possunl 
quibus populo sese erigere atque in regem im- 
potentius dominantem arma capcre Sf invadere 
jure suo sudque authoritate liceat? Nulli eerie 
quamdiu rex manet. Semper enim ex divinis id 
obstat, Regem honorificato ; & qui potestati 
resistit, Dei ordinationi resistit: non alias igitur 
in eum populo potestas est quam si id committat 
propter quod ipso jure rex esse desinat. Tunc 
enim se ipse principatu exuit atque in privatis 
constituit liber: hoc modo populus 8f superior 
efficitur, reverse ad eum sc. jure illo quod ante 
regem inauguratum in interregno habuit. At 
sunt paucorum generum commissa ejusmodi qua? 
/tunc effectum pariunt. At ego cum plurima 
animo perlustrem, duo tantum i?ivetiio, duos, 
inquam, casus quibus rex ipso facto ex rege 
non regem se facit fy omni honor e fy dignitate 
regali atque in subditos potestate destituit ; 
quorum ctiam meminit Winzerus. Horum unns 
est, Si rcgnum disperdat, quemadmodum de Ne- 
rone Jertur, quod is nempe senatum populumque 
llomanum, atque adeo urbem ipsam ferro flam- 
maque vastarc, ac novas sibi sedes qucerere decre- 
visset. Et de Caligula, quod palam denunciarit 
se neque cirem neque principem senatui amplius 
fore, inquc animo habuerit interempto utriusque 
ordinis elcclissimo quoque Alexandrian! commi- 


grave, ac ut populum uno iclu interimeret, unam 
ei cervicem optavit. Talia cum rex aliquis me- 
ditatur <Sf molitur serio, omnem regnandi cwram 
ty animum ilico abjicit, ac proinde imperium in 
subditos amittit, ut dominus servi pro derelicto 
habit i dominium. 

§. 236. Alter casus est, Si rex in alicujus 
client elam se contulit, ac regnum quod Uberum 
a majoribus fy populo traditum accepit, alienee 
ditioni mancipavit. Nam tunc quamvis forte 
non ed mente id agit populo pla?ie ut incommo- 
det : tamen quia quod prcecipuum est regice 
dignitatis amisit, ut summits scilicet in regno 
secundum Deum sit, fy solo Deo inferior, atque 
jwpidum etiam totum ignorantem vel invitum, cu- 
jus libertatem sartam Sf tectam conservare debuit, 
in alterius gentis ditionem fy potestatem dedidit ; 
hue velut quadam regni ab alienatione effecit, ut 
nee quod ipse in regno imperium habuit retineat, 
ne in eum cui collatum voluit, juris quicquam 
transferat ; atque ita eo facto Uberum jam &f 
sua potestatis populum relinquit, cujus rei exem- 
plum unum annates Scotici suppeditant. Bar- 
clay contra Monarchom. 1. iii. c. 16. 

Which in English runs thus : 

§. 237. What then, can there be no case 
happen ivherein the people may of right, and 
by their own authority, help themselves, take 
arms, cuul set upon their king, imperiously 
domineering over them? None at all, whilst 


he remains a king. Honour the king, and 
he that resists the power, resists the ordinance 
of God ; are divine oracles thai will never 
permit it. The people therefore can never come 
by a power over him, unless he does something 
that makes him cease to be a king: for then 
he divests himself of his crown and dignity, 
and returns to the state of a private man, 
and the people become free and superior, the 
power which they had in the interregnum, be- 
fore they crowned him king, devolving to them 
again. Hut there are but few miscarriages 
which bring the matter to this state. After 
considering it ivell on all sides, I can find but 
tw'o. Two cases there are, I say, whereby a 
king, ipso facto, becomes no king, and loses all 
power and regal authority over his people; 
which are also taken notice of by Winzerus. 

The first is, If he endeavour to overturn 
the government, that is, if he have a purpose 
and design to ruin the kingdom and common- 
wealth, as it is recorded of Nero, that he 
resolved to cut off the senate and people of 
Rome, lay the city waste with fire and sword, 
and then remove to some other place. And 
of Caligula, that he openly declared, that he 
would be no longer a head to the people or 
senate, and that he had it in his thoughts 
to cut off the worthiest men of both ranks, 
and then retire to Alexandria: and he wished 
that the people had but one neck, that he might 
dispatch them all at a bloiv. Such designs 


as these, when . any king harbours in his 
thoughts, and seriously promotes, he immedi- 
ately gives up all the care and thought of the 
commonwealth; and consequently forfeits the 
poiver of governing his subjects, as a master 
does the dominion over his slaves whom he hath 

§. 238. The other case is, When a king makes 
himself the dependent of another, and subjects 
his kingdom which his ancestors left him, and 
the people put free into his hands, to the do- 
minion of another : for however perhaps it may 
not be his intention to prejudice the people; yet 
because he has hereby lost the principal part of 
regal dignity, viz. to be next and immediately 
under God, supreme in his kingdom ; and also 
because he betrayed or forced his people, whose 
liberty he ought to have carefully preserved, into 
the power and dominion of a foreign nation. 
JBy this, as it were, alienation of his kingdom, he 
himself looses the power he had in it before, 
without transferring any the least right to those 
on whom he would have bestowed it ; and so by 
this act sets the people jree, and leaves them at 
their own disposal. One example of this is to be 
found in the Scotch Annals. 

§. 239. In these cases Barclay, the great 
champion of absolute monarchy, is forced to 
allow, that a king may be resisted, and ceases 
to be a king. That is, in short, not to multiply 
cases, in whatsoever he has no authority, there 
he is no king, and may be resisted: for whereso- 


ever the authority ceases, the king ceases too, 
and becomes like other men who have no au- 
thority. And these two cases he instances in, 
differ little from those above mentioned, to be 
destructive to governments, only that he has 
omitted the principle from which his doctrine 
flows ; and that is, the breach of trust, in not 
preserving the form of government agreed on, 
and in not intending the end of government 
itself, which is the public good and preserva- 
tion of property. When a king has dethroned 
himself, and put himself in a state of war with 
his people, what shall hinder them from prose- 
cuting him who is no king, as they would any 
other man, who has put himself into a state 
of war with them ; Barclay, and those of his 
opinion, would do well to tell us. This farther 
I desire may be taken notice of out of Barclay, 
that he says, The mischief that is designed 
them, the people may prevent before it be done : 
whereby he allows resistance when tyranny is 
but in design. Such designs as these (says he) 
ivhen any king harbours in his thoughts and 
seriously promotes, he immediately gives up all 
care and thought of the commonwealth; so 
that, according to him, the neglect of the 
public good is to be taken as an evidence of 
such design, or at least for a sufficient cause 
of resistance. And the reason of all, he gives 
in these words, Because he betrayed or forced 
his people, tvhose liberty he ought carefully to 
have preserved. What he adds, into the power 


and dominion of a foreign nation, signifies no- 
thing, the fault and forfeiture lying in the loss 
of their liberty, which he ought to have preser- 
ved, and not in any distinction of the persons 
to whose dominion they were subjected. The 
people's right is equally invaded, and their 
liberty lost, whether they are made slaves to 
any of their own, or a foreign nation ; and in 
this lies the injury, and against this only they 
have the right of defence. And there are in- 
stances to be found in all countries, which 
shew, that it is not the change of nations in the 
persons of their governors, but the change of 
government, that gives the offence. Bilson, a 
bishop of our church, and a great stickler for 
the power and prerogative of princes, does, if 
I mistake not, in his treatise of Christian sub- 
jection, acknowledge, that princes may forfeit 
their power, and their title to the obedience of 
their subjects; and if there needed authority 
in a case where reason is so plain, I could 
send my reader to ^Br acton, Fortescue, and the 
author of the Mirrour, and others, writers that 
cannot be suspected to be ignorant of our go- 
vernment, or enemies to it. But I thought 
Hooker alone might be enough to satisfy those 
men, who relying on him for their ecclesiastical 
polity, are by a strange fate carried to deny 
those principles upon which he builds it. 
"Whether they are herein made the tools of 
cunninger workmen, to pull down their own 
fabric, thev were best look. This 1 am sure, 


their civil policy is so new, so dangerous, and 
so destructive to both rulers and people, that 
as former ages never could bear the broaching 
of it; so it may be hoped, those to come, re- 
deemed from the impositions of these Egyptian 
under-task-masters, will abhor the memory of 
such servile flatterers, who, whilst it seemed 
to serve their turn, resolved all government 
into absolute tyranny, and would have all men 
born to, what their mean souls fitted them for, 

§. 240. Here, it is like, the common ques- 
tion will be made, Who shall be judge, whether 
the prince or legislative act contrary to their 
trust? This, perhaps ill-affected and factious 
men may spread amongst the people, when the 
prince only makes use of his due prerogative. 
To this I reply, The people shall be judge ; for 
who shall be judge whether his trustee or 
deputy acts well, and according to the trust 
reposed in him, but he who deputes him, and 
must, by having deputed him, have still a power 
to discard him, when he fails in his trust? If 
this be reasonable in particular cases of private 
men, why should it be otherwise in that of the 
greatest moment, where the welfare of millions 
is concerned, and also where the evil, if not 
prevented, is greater, and the redress very dif- 
ficult, dear, and dangerous? 

§.241. But farther, this question (Who shall 
be judge?) cannot mean, that there is no jndge 
at all: for where there is no judicature on 


earth, to decide controversies amongst men, 
God in heaven is judge. He alone, it is true, 
is judge of the right. But every man is judge 
for himself, as in all other cases, so in this, 
whether another hath put himself into a state 
of war with him, and whether he should appeal 
to the Supreme Judge, as Jephtha did. 

§. 242. If a controversy arise betwixt a 
prince and some of the people, in a matter 
where the law is silent, or doubtful, and the 
thing be of great consequence, I should think 
the proper umpire, in such a case, should be 
the body of the people: for in cases where 
the prince hath a trust reposed in him, and is 
dispensed from the common ordinary rules of 
the law; there, if any men find themselves 
aggrieved, and think the prince acts contrary 
to, or beyond that trust, who so proper to 
judge as the body of the people, (who, at first, 
lodged that trust in him) how far they meant it 
should extend? But if the prince, or whoever 
they be in the administration, decline that way 
of determination, the appeal then lies no where 
but to heaven ; force between either persons, 
who have no known superior on earth, or which 
permits no appeal to a judge on earth, being 
properly a state of war, wherein the appeal 
lies only to heaven ; and in that state the in- 
jured party must judge for himself, when he 
will think fit to make use of that appeal, and 
put himself upon it. 

§. 243. To conclude, The power that every 


individual gave the society *, when he entered 
into it, can never revert to the individuals 
again, as long as the society lasts, but will 
always remain in the community ; because 
without this there can be no community, no 
commonwealth, which is contrary to the origi- 
nal agreement : so also when the society hath 
placed the legislative in any assembly of men, 
to continue in them and their successors, with 
direction and authority for providing such 
successors, the legislative can never revert to 
the people whilst that government lasts ; be- 
cause having provided a legislative with power 
to continue for ever, they have given up their 
political power to the legislative, and cannot 
resume it. But if they have set limits to the 
duration of their legislative, and made this 
supreme power in any person, or assembly, 
only temporary ; or else, when by the mis- 
carriages of those in authority, it is forfeited ; 
upon the forfeiture, or at the determination of 
the time set, it reverts to the society, and the 
people have a right to act as supreme, and 
continue the legislative in themselves ; or erect 
a new form, or under the old form place it in 
new hands, as they think good. 


BW, & S. Gardiner, Printers, Princes Stie*t,Cavendish-squaie. 


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